Oral history interview with Fong Chow, 2002 February 6
Chow, Fong, 1923-
Carney, Margaret, 1949-
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
Glidden Pottery (Alfred, N.Y.)
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
New York (State)
Transcript: 27 pages
Originally recorded 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 41 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Fong Chow conducted February 6, 2002, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Chow's home, in New York, N.Y.
Chow speaks of his family, specifically, his grandfather who was sent to Hartford, Connecticutt, in 1874, for schooling, then studied at Columbia University and returned to China, working as general manager of one of the earliest railroads in north China; the schools Chow attended in Hong Kong; working in different media, including painting and photography; attending the Boston Museum School and then Alfred University; his relationship with Charles Harder, the head of the ceramic design department at Alfred; the "wonderful" teachers at Alfred in the early 1950s, including Katharine Nelson in painting, Marion Fosdick in sculpture, Daniel Rhodes and Ted Randall; learning production methods, as well as "studio potters work"; developing forms, new glazes, and decorations at Glidden Pottery; his "famous" pieces for Glidden Pottery, such as "New Equations" and "Charcoal and Rice"; how he became involved with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his relationship with Alan Priest, curator of Far Eastern art; working at the Met as a curator for more than 20 years; changes at the Met during his tenure there; and his hiatus from making ceramics while working at the Met. He discusses his return to clay in 1983 and his studio near Cooper Union; he describes visiting his best friend from childhood, Pan He, a sculptor in China. He also discusses his health; his wife Chao-Ling and how they met; his current focus on photography. Chow also recalls Glidden Parker, James Romer, Bo Gyllensvard, Sergio Dello Strologo, Theodore Hobby, Paul Bollardo, Norman Arsenault, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Fong Chow, 2002 February 6. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available on line.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Fong Chow (1923- ) is a ceramicist, curator, and photographer from New York, N.Y. Margaret Carney (1949- ) is the director of the Schein Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred, N.Y.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001