two birds, one with an unattached hand embracing its head

Michelle Erickson, Babydor (detail), 2021. Thrown, hand-modeled, and slip-cast porcelain. Height 10 in (25.4 cm). Collection of the artist. EX1111.2. Image © Michelle Erickson.

Michelle Erickson: Wild Porcelain

The Legion of Honor introduces Michelle Erickson’s ceramic art into the center of the Bowles Porcelain Gallery. Erickson’s work combines colonial era ceramic techniques and contemporary themes. Specifically for Bay Area audiences, she has produced pieces that incorporate San Francisco landmarks and address local social and environmental issues. The design of these works was directly inspired by pieces in the Bowles Collection of 18th-century English porcelain, which forms the core of the Fine Arts Museums’ European porcelain collections. In keeping with Erickson’s previous political statements, Wild Porcelain confronts visitors with issues such as socioeconomic inequality and human encroachment on the environment, while demonstrating that porcelain remains a dynamic medium of artistic expression in the 21st century.  

Michelle Erickson is an independent ceramic artist and scholar. Erickson’s work has been acquired by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the New-York Historical Society, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2007, she was commissioned to design and produce an official gift presented to Queen Elizabeth II during her state visit to Jamestown, Virginia. Her previous exhibitions include Potter’s Field at the Clay Art Center (2014), Conversations In Clay at Virginia MOCA (2015), and the traveling exhibition Inciteful Clay (2014 – 2017).



This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Major Support

Constance Peabody Trust

This exhibition was produced with 3D scanning and printing technology in collaboration with Dr. Bernard K. Means at Virginia Commonwealth University's Virtual Curation Laboratory.

Currently on view