By Melissa Mitchell Art history professor and critic Donald Kuspit will visit the UI on Saturday to moderate an artists' round-table discussion at the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion. The round table - scheduled for 3 p.m. in the museum's auditorium - will feature five artists whose work is highlighted in "Alfred Now: Contemporary American Ceramics," a new exhibition that opens the same day at the museum. Also participating in the discussion will be Nancy Weekly, the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator of the Burchfield Penny Art Center, State University College at Buffalo, N.Y., who interviewed the artists for the catalog that accompanies the exhibition. Kuspit, who also wrote an essay that appears in the catalog, is a professor of art history and philosophy at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and is a frequent contributor of essays and criticism to various fine-arts publications, including Artforum and New Art Examiner. The Krannert exhibition, which runs through Jan. 22, features the work of Anne Currier, Val Cushing, Andrea Gill, John Gill and Wayne Higby, all faculty artists at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y. Mark Warwick, of Krannert's exhibition design staff and an alumnus of Alfred University, co-curated the show with UI ceramics professor Ron Kovatch. Warwick said the New York school has an international reputation as a leader in the education of ceramic artists. "Our exhibition concentrates on faculty who are there now and the work they're producing now," said Warwick, who noted that some items included in the show were just completed this month and have never before been displayed publicly. In the show's catalog, Kuspit characterized the exhibitors as "a remarkable group of very different artists, all of whom use clay imaginatively. ... Each artist has his or her own emotional intensity, conceptual sophistication and physical subtlety, but all converge in the sense of the limitless possibilities of clay, and its validity as an art medium, not simply a craft material. In this alone, they show us how obsolete the distinction between art and craft has become in the contemporary world." Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays.