Ezra Shales

Title: Associate Professor

Degrees: BA Wesleyan University; MFA Hunter College; PhD Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture



Made in Newark: Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era (Rutgers University Press, 2010).

Reviews of Made in Newark in The Journal of Design History by Sarah Scaturro (pdf 1); The Journal of Modern Craft by Ellen Denker (pdf 2); American Craft by Caroline Hannah (pdf 3); Winterthur Portfolio by Rosemary Krill (pdf 4)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

"A 'Little Journey' to Empathize with (and Complicate) the Factory," Design & Culture vol. 4, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 215-220 (pdf 5)

"Corporate Craft: Constructing the Empire State Building," Journal of Modern Craft vol. 4, issue 2 (July 2011): 151-178 (pdf 6)

"Toying with Design Reform: Henry Cole and Instructive Play for Children," Journal of Design History vol. 22, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 3-27 (pdf 7)

"Decorative Arts" in The Material Culture of American Life: An Encyclopedia, 143-145, Helen Sheumaker and Shirley Wajda, editors, ABC-Clio Press, 2007 (pdf 8)

Selected Catalogue Essays, Publications and Reviews

"Object Focus: The Bowl," Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland

"The Tool at Hand," Milwaukee Art Museum/Chipstone Foundation

"Ceramics as Ethos or Discourse? Wayne Higby's Contributions
to Scholarship in American Ceramic Art," in Infinite Place:
The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby
, Arnoldsche, 2013

Book review, Walter Crane by Morna O'Neill and Novel Craft by
Talia Schaffer, West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design
History and Material Culture
vol. 19, no. 2 (Fall Winter 2012): 325-328

Book review, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman: Grayson
Perry at the British Museum
in Journal of Modern Craft vol. 5,
issue 2 (July 2012): 231-236 (pdf 9)

"Intervals on the Table," TableSpace, Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, 2012

"A Functioning Vessel: Sounds of Laughter, Shades of Earth" in
Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Ceramics: The Garth Clark
and Mark Del Vecchio Collection
,Museum of Fine Art, Houston
and Yale University Press, 2012

"Teaching Ceramic Citizenship," Out of Clay: The Krevolin
Collection of Pre-Contact
Pottery, (Schein-Joseph
International Museum of Ceramic Art, 2012) (pdf 10)

"The Paradoxes of the Everson's Ceramic Nationals," catalog
essay for the Museum of Contemporary Craft's exhibition
Northwest Modern, August 2011-February 2012

"Metabolic Décor," Echo Chamber: Anders Ruhwald and Marie
Hermann, Schein-Joseph Museum of Ceramic
Art, 2011

"'Decadent Plumbers' Porcelain': Craft and Modernity in Ceramic
Sanitary Ware," Kunst Og Kultur (Norwegian Journal of Art and
Culture) vol. 94, no. 3 (Fall 2011)

"The Artistic Librarian," Fine Art Connoisseur vol. 6, no. 4 (2009): 57-60

"Tools Are Like Songs," Studio Potter vol. 36, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 23-6

"Technophilic Craft," American Craft vol. 68, no. 2 (April/May 2008): 78-80

"Celadon Refraction," in EarthCloud/Wayne Higby, with authors
Helen Williams Drutt, Mary Drach McInnes, Lee Somers,
Arnoldsche, 2008

"Matter Out of Place: Notes on Experiential Learning in a Studio
Foundation Program," in John Wood: On the Edge of Clear
, ed. Nathan Lyons, with authors David Levi Strauss
and William Johnson, Steidl, 2008 (pdf 11)

Exhibition review, Design Issues vol. 22, no. 3 (Summer 2006):
66-69 of SAFE: Design Takes on Risk at the Museum of
Modern Art

Book review, The Great Exhibitor: The Life and Work of Henry
(2003) by Elizabeth Bonython and Anthony Burton,
Studies in the Decorative Arts vol. 12, no. 1 (Fall 2004): 142-144


"The Politics of 'Ordinary Manufacture' in the Post-Industrial
State," Nation Building: Craft and Contemporary American
, Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick
Gallery, November 2012

"Materiality Meets Liquidity in the Museum," Geschichte und
Zukunft der Kunst- Und Designmuseen
(History and Future
of Art and Design Museums), Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle
der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, January 2012

"The Porcelain Cup, Conscripted and Discharged," Society for
the History of Technology 2011 Annual Meeting, Cleveland,
November 2011

"Making or Unmaking? The Contexts of Contemporary
Ceramics," Bergen National Academy of the Arts and
Permanenten West Norway Museum of Decorative Art,
October 2011

"Overthrown: Contemporary Ceramics," Denver Art Museum, September 2011

"Modern Craftsmanship in the Empire State Building and Lewis
Hine's Photographs," College Art Association annual conference,
New York City, February 2011

"Anonymous Craftsmen in the Empire State," California College of the Arts,
October 2010

"The Historiographic Understanding of Craft and Design,"
Design and Craft: A History of Convergences and
, 7th Conference of the International
Committee of Design History and Design Studies,
Brussels, Belgium, September 2010

"Craft's Social Life," Norwegian Research Council Project
Assigning Cultural Value (www.k-verdi.no), Bergen
National Academy of the Arts (Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen),
June 2010

"Key Texts in Twentieth-Century Ceramics Criticism," session
chair and presenter, National Council on Education for the
Ceramic Arts annual conference, Philadelphia, April 2010

"Design and the Rhetoric of Democratization," session chair,
College Art Association annual conference, Chicago,
February 2010

"Craft's Social Life," Cranbrook Academy of Art, February 2010

"reMaking and reThinking Practices: Disciplinary Research in a
Polymorphous World," Rhode Island School of Design,
November 2009

"The Social Life of Craft," University of Wisconsin-Madison,
September 2009

"Ceramic Readymades Before and Beyond Duchamp," Röhsska
Museum of Decorative Arts, Göteborg, Sweden, March 2009

"Contemporary Discourses in Ceramics," Göteborg School of
Art and Handicraft, Sweden, March 2009

"Contemporary Discourses in Ceramics," Kunsthøgskolen
i Bergen, Norway, March 2009

"Toying with Design Reform," North American Victorian Studies
Association annual conference, Yale University, November 2008

"John Wood Symposium: On the Edge of Clear Meaning," Visual
Studies Workshop, Rochester, October 2008

"Framing the Fireplace," Mid-Atlantic Popular American Culture
Association annual conference, Niagara Falls, October 2008

"Contemporary Discourses in Ceramics," School of Design,
Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu, University of Helsinki,
September 2008

"Craft-Based Design or Design-Based Craft?" University of
Helsinki "Crafticulation" conference, September 2008

"Crafting a Civic Utopia in Newark, New Jersey," College
Art Association annual conference, Dallas, February 2008

"Towards a Class-Conscious Theory of Craft," Nova Scotia
College of Art and Design's "NeoCraft" conference, Halifax,
Canada, November 2007

"The Practical Value of Pluralist Ceramic History,"
International Society for Ceramics Art Education
Exchange conference, University College for the
Creative Arts at Farnham, Surrey, September 2007

"Teaching Prototypes and Pluralist Processes,"
panel chair and presenter, National Council on Education
for the Ceramic Arts annual conference, Louisville,
Kentucky,March 2007

"Sanitary Ware and Modernity," Copenhagen
Kunstindustrimuseet, and Guldagergaard, International
Ceramic Research Center, Skaelskør, Denmark, August 2006

"Ceramic Art and Technology circa 1915: Charles Fergus Binns
and the Alfred Experiment in Context," American Art Pottery
Association Conference, April 2006

"John Cotton Dana's Advertisements for a Modern Museum,"
Newark Museum, February 2006

"The 1909 Hudson-Fulton Catalogues: Codifying Americana in
Typography," College Art Association annual conference,
Atlanta, February 2005

"Arts and Crafts Influences and Progressive Politics at the
Newark Museum and Newark Library, Circa 1900-1920,"
Winterthur Museum symposium, Delaware, October 2004 

"Branding the American Museum circa 1900-1920: Fashioning
a Graphic Identity for the Metropolitan Museum of Art," 13th
Annual Symposium on the Decorative Arts sponsored by the
Masters Program in the History of Decorative Art, Cooper-
Hewitt and Parsons, April 2004


"All the Traditions: Women Working in Ceramics, 1925-1957" (in process)

"Echo Chamber: Anders Ruhwald and Marie Torbensdatter
Hermann," Schein-Joseph Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred
University, October-December 2011

Co-curator of the exhibition, "Raw Goods," Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Alfred University, January-February
(ebook) Exhibition review of "Raw Goods" in the Journal of Modern Craft (November 2011(pdf 12)

Co-curator with Susan Edwards of the exhibition, "Horse Tales: American Images and Icons, 1800-2000,"
Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, October-December 2001


"Cliff B. King" in "Open House: Working in Brooklyn," The Brooklyn Museum, 2004 (pdf 13)

"Cosmic Views of Queens, An Arcade Project," Queens Museum
of Art Satellite Gallery at the Bulova Center, 2002

"Measure To Scale," installation on 92 Allen Street façade, NY, NY, 2002

"Looking for Mr. Fluxus," Art in General, NY, NY, 2001

"Reflections on Space: Alejandra Munizaga, Ben Pranger and
Ezra Shales," Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY Old
Westbury, NY, 2001

"Our Perceptions/Urban Reality," Artists Space, NY, NY, 2001

"A Common Denominator," Eldridge Street Project, NY, NY, 1999

"The Nominal Home," Beach 43rd Street, The Far Rockaways, NY, 1998 (pdf 14)


  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design Foundation Faculty Fellowship, Spring 2013
  • Exhibition Research Grant, Craft Research Fund, Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, 2012
  • New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Authors Award for Made in Newark:Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era, October 2011
  • Joseph Kruson Award for Excellence in Teaching, Alfred University, April 2010
  • Alfred University Service Learning Grant, April 2010
  • Emerging Scholars Award, Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, March 2010
  • Professional Development Grant, Alfred University, May 2009
  • Society for the Preservation of American Modernists, 2009
  • Windgate Foundation Publication Grant, 2009
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Alfred University, 2008
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Alfred University, 2007
  • Craft Research Fund, Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, 2007
  • Fellowship for International Faculty Development, Alfred University, 2007
  • Ph.D. Research and Travel Grant, Bard Graduate Center, 2004
  • Fellowship, Victorian Summer School, London, UK, 2004
  • Fellowship, Victorian Summer School, Newport, RI, 2003
  • Connecticut Ceramic Circle Award, 2003


  • External examiner for Glass and Ceramics Division, Royal College of Art, 2012-2015
  • External examiner of Ph.D. candidate in design history, Royal College of Art, 2012
  • Vice-President of Design Studies Forum (CAA affiliate), 2010-2013 (3 year term)
  • Juror for the Pew Charitable Trust Foundation
  • Nominator for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards
  • Juror for the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design Grants
  • External evaluator of Ph.D. candidate, Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen, 2009-11
  • External evaluator for tenure review, Parsons The New School for Design, Göteborgs Universitet


  • College Art Association
  • Design Studies Forum (CAA affiliate)
  • Society for the History of Technology
  • American Alliance of Museums
  • Design History Society
  • Victorian Society of America
  • Victorian Studies Association
  • Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association
  • American Studies Association
  • Organization of American Historians