OPENING VIRTUALLY ON APRIL 26, 2023
IN CONJUNCTION WITH
TESTUDO’S OFFICIAL LAUNCH
In conjunction with its official launch, Testudo is thrilled to debut its first exhibition, Judd Schiffman, on April 26, 2023. This virtual solo presentation will feature eleven meticulously sculpted and psychologically charged ceramic wall works by the Providence-based artist. Five of the eleven porcelain and stoneware installations will go live at noon (12 pm ET) on Wednesday, April 26, while six are available for sale on the platform now.
Judd Schiffman is organized by Connor McNicholas, Testudo’s Director of Curation, who is also an artist and independent curator. Over the course of the exhibition’s run through May 31, 2023, Testudo will publish fresh accompanying content on its platform—including an original essay by art critic Annabel Keenan as well as a documentary video by Kate Parvenski, Testudo’s Director of Content.
Judd Schiffman demonstrates Testudo’s mission to showcase practicing studio artists who use unexpected materials or techniques to evoke multifaceted historical or personal narratives. The platform offers a new generation of budding collectors the opportunity to access and acquire such tactile and dynamic art through an equitable marketplace grounded in security and transparency. Schiffman’s eleven intricate ceramic compositions range in price from $5,000–$7,000.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
In his eponymous exhibition, Judd Schiffman presents ceramic wall works that intermix life experiences, cultural references, and historical imagery to probe how narratives are shaped. Drawing with clay, Schiffman makes glazed porcelain and stoneware tableaus with lively figures, fauna, and flora that are each installed on the wall as part of a whole composition. The artist culls these eclectic motifs from children’s stories, modern art history books, YouTube cartoons, medieval manuscripts, and other sources that he encounters as a husband, father, and professor. His installations address layered
themes ranging from myth-making to humanity’s relationship with nature.
The forms remain moveable within the frame that encircles each of Schiffman’s scenes. The artist invites rearrangement of these pieces, shifting the stories that his works tell: “The framed narratives open up a common ground where the viewer can enter into dialogue as a participant among the characters, objects, and landscapes,” as Schiffman explains. His embrace of ceramics and collaboration bridges earlier art movements: the reclamation of craft in the 1960s and ‘70s by artists who rejected stereotypical notions of pottery and textiles as domestic, feminine, or lowbrow; and the emergence of relational aesthetics in the 1990s as a genre of social art that empowers the viewer to take part in the work. Indeed, Schiffman integrates approaches from across 20th-century art history while meditating on the contemporary human condition.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Judd Schiffman (b. 1982, Providence, RI) received an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Colorado, Boulder following a BA in Human Development from Prescott College. He serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Providence College and has lectured at Harvard University and Brown University. The artist was shortlisted for the Hopper Prize (2021) and was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts and Windgate Charitable Foundation (2017). Schiffman has been the subject of institutional solo exhibitions at the Brown University
Joukowsky Institute, Providence, RI (2019); Brown University Hillel Gallery, Providence, RI (2016); and the University of Colorado Art Museum, Boulder, CO (2015). His work is found in collections such as the Alex Somers Collection, Los Angeles, CA; Paul and Estelle Berg Collection, Providence, RI; and The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI.
Testudo is the gateway to collecting unique contemporary art made by studio artists. These practitioners use unexpected materials or techniques to evoke multifaceted historical or personal narratives. Often tactile and dynamic, the works on Testudo—curated by experienced artists and contemporary art specialists—are aesthetically impactful and conceptually layered. Testudo harnesses the immediacy and agility of its digital presence to connect more people with art of our moment and build enduring collections over time. By providing access to each artist’s intention and practice through
documentary videos, original editorials, and transparent information, Testudo opens up the exclusive art market.
As artists on Testudo receive a higher profit from each sale than from the traditional gallery model, more of each collector’s investment goes to the artists they support. Unlike the existing art market, Testudo also provides a secure avenue for reselling works purchased through its site while allocating a portion of that secondary sale to the artist—aligning the interests of collectors and artists.
Testudo was founded by Kirby Voigtman and John Dennehy, who met while attending the University of Michigan in 2013 and married in 2021. Drawing on their careers in e-commerce and finance, and their experiences as passionate collectors of emerging art, John & Kirby conceived Testudo with the mission to establish a more equitable and inclusive art market for all.
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