Clayton George Bailey (born 9 March 1939 in Antigo, Wisconsin), is an American artist who works primarily in the mediums of ceramic and metal sculpture.
Bailey attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he received a B.S. degree in 1961, followed by an M.S. in Art and Art Education in 1962.
In 1962, Bailey served as a technical assistant to Harvey Littleton, who was conducting glassblowing seminars at the Toledo Museum of Art.
Over the next five years, Bailey will travel the country accepting invitations to teach, from the People's Art Center in St. Louis, Missouri to positions with the University of Iowa, and the University of South Dakota. During this period Bailey receives a Louis Comfort Tiffany grant (1963), and will be appointed artist-in-residence at University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where he will teach ceramics for the next three years.
At the bequest of Robert Arneson, Bailey covers Arneson's classes at the University of California, Davis while Arneson is on sabbatical in 1967. In 1968, Bailey relocates to northern California, where he becomes a leading figure in the ceramic vein of the regional Funk art movement, as had been pioneered by Arneson. Much of the Funk art activity is centered around UC Davis, where other prominent figures in the movement (Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, William T. Wiley, David Gilhooly, Chris Unterseher, Margaret Dodd) either taught, or attended classes.
A leading venue for exhibiting Funk art was at the Candy Store Gallery, located in nearby Folsom, California, where Bailey would regularly present work in the context of both solo and group shows.
In 1968, Bailey began teaching at California State University, Hayward (now California State University, East Bay). He retired from this position in June, 1996 with the title of Professor Emeritus of Ceramics.
In 1970, Bailey established a home-studio space in rural Port Costa, California, where he became neighbors with fellow artist Roy De Forest. The two collaborated on numerous projects, and remained close friends until De Forest's death in 2007.
Overlapping the Funk art movement was Nut art, a term coined by De Forest, which brought together many of the same practitioners including Arneson, De Forest, and Gilhooly, along with Peter Saul, Jerry Gooch, Victor Cicanski, Richard Shaw, David Zack. In 1972, Bailey co-curated the first-ever Nut art show at California State University, Hayward.
Stylistically, Bailey's work bridges several different categories and styles including Funk art, Nut art, ceramic and metallic sculpture, and Performance art. A recurring thread through all his work is humor, along with a high degree of craftsmanship.
Another track for artistic expression developed with the creation of Bailey's alter ego Dr. George Gladstone, beginning in 1969. Initially, the works blended performance and creations based on pseudo-science and personal mythologies. Works included the creation of fossilized remains (usually ceramic or from earth materials) and the classification of a new time period, the Pre-Credulous Era, the source of such Kaolithic curiosities as a cyclops skull and a Bigfoot skeleton. Dressed in a lab coat and pith helmet, Bailey as Dr. Gladstone performed excavations and staged performances and pranks. The World of Wonders, a traveling museum dedicated to Dr. Gladstone's life and work was developed, and presented in various venues, beginning with the Richmond Art Center. In 1976, The World of Wonders Museum opened in downtown Port Costa, where it became a local tourist attraction until its closure in 1978. The collection is now split between Bailey's home-studio, and the Bailey Art Museum in downtown Crockett, California.
Over the years, the Dr. Gladstone character evolved into something more akin to a mad scientist, allowing Bailey to explore other forms of art with pseudo-scientific origins and associations. Most notable have been sculptures based on robots, beginning in the late 1970s and continuing on to today, although this work is now presented, and credited as Bailey's, not Dr. Gladstone's. The latest offshoot of the metallic sculpture (built from found materials and objects) has been a series of Space Guns.
Presently, Bailey continues to work in a variety of mediums and styles. Throughout his career as an artist, Bailey has exhibited regularly throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia in both solo and group exhibitions. In 2011, Bailey was honored with a 50-year retrospective exhibition (Clayton Bailey's World of Wonders) at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California.
Since 1970, Bailey and his wife (fellow artist Betty Bailey), have resided in Port Costa, California.
1963 American Craft Council Grant 1963 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant 1979 National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recipient 1982 Fellow N.C.E.C.A. (National Council on Education in Ceramic Arts) 1984 U.S. Patent #4440390 issued to Clayton G. Bailey (for a "Novelty Squirting Cup") 1990 Panelist, California Arts Council, Artists Fellowship Program 1990 National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recipient 1998 Celestial Seasonings, Inc. "A Loose Interpretation III," Boulder, CO, Received Honorable Mention for creation of Celeste, the Robot Teabag 2009 "Golden Bear Artist of the Year" Award and Commendation from the California Arts Council and the Lt. Governor of the State of California
Addison Gallery of American Art Andover, MA American Craft Museum, New York City, NY Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, Japan Bakken Museum and Library, Minneapolis, MN Berry College, Mt. Berry, GA Bank of America, Chicago, IL Brooks Memorial Gallery, Memphis, TN Burpee Museum, Rockford, IL Carborundum Museum of American Ceramics. Niagara Falls, NY Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DL DeYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA di Rosa Art Preserve. Napa, CA Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, UT Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Hokkoku Shinbun, Korinbo, Japan Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI Illinois State University, Normal, IL Iowa State Art Association, Marshalltown, IA Johnson Foundation, Racine, WI Katzen Museum, American University, Washington, DC Kohler Company, Kohler, WI Karstadt, Munich, Germany Metromedia Corp., Los Angeles, CA Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA Leslie Ceramic Supply, Berkeley, CA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan Microsoft Corp., Seattle, WA Mills College, Oakland, CA Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, NC Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, HI Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX Musee d' ethnographie, Neuchatel, Switzerland Muskingum College, Muskingum, Ohio Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA Racine Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI Redding Museum, Redding, CA Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce, Rhinelander, WI Richard Nelson Gallery, University of California, Davis, CA Sacramento Light Rail, 16th Street Station (Commissioned Pavement Tiles) Sacramento State University, Sacramento, CA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA Shasta College, Redding, CA Stanford University, Green Library, Palo Alto, CA Stanford University, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Palo Alto, CA University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK University of Utah Museum of Art, Salt Lake City, UT University of Washington, Seattle, WA University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI United States Information Agency, (USIA)