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Voulkos at MAD New York

New York’s Museum of Arts and Design teams up with its former director, internationally-recognised craft authority Glenn Adamson, to mount a special Peter Voulkos retrospective. the exhibition spotlights work created during the Californian ceramist’s “breakout” years.

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On view till 15 March 2017 at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years explores early-career work of the famed artist. Created between 1953-1968, the selection of small to large scale vessels reveals Voulkos’ experimental spirit; pushing the scope of ceramic techniques into new formal realms. Instrumental in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the time, he was the first to combine traditional wheel throwing methods with epoxy paint, figuration with abstraction. This is best edified in Rocking Pot (1956). With large punctures giving way to loosely-adhered saber forms, the over-turned bowl was seen as radical  As pieces became larger over time, Voulkos applied a new emphasis on internal structural engineering. In this regard, the MAD exhibition follows and equally proportion- and time-based progression.

Curator Glenn Adamson explains his motivation for the show: “Nearly everyone involved in ceramic art has a Voulkos story to tell. He was a charismatic figure, and his influence was tremendously important for the history of the medium. This exhibition gets past the personality and follows the progression of his ideas in this crucial period of his career. It is fascinating to see him wrestling his materials into new forms, producing one breakthrough moment after another.”

Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years: till 15 March 2015
Museum of Art and Design: 2 Columbus Circle, New York

Paul Soldner's MFA show, 1956 Otis Art Institute, with Paul Soldner, Pete Voulkos and John Mason, Image Courtesy of Soldner Descendants' Trust.
Paul Soldner's MFA show, 1956 Otis Art Institute, with Paul Soldner, Pete Voulkos and John Mason, Image Courtesy of Soldner Descendants' Trust.
Little Big Horn (1959) Oakland Museum of California, Gift of the Art Guild of The Oakland Museum Association in Memory of Helen Schilling Stelzner (1963), photo courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Little Big Horn (1959) Oakland Museum of California, Gift of the Art Guild of The Oakland Museum Association in Memory of Helen Schilling Stelzner (1963), photo courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Annon (1959), Collection of Dick and Gloria Anderson Courtesy of Dick and Gloria Anderson, photo: E. G. Schempf
Annon (1959), Collection of Dick and Gloria Anderson Courtesy of Dick and Gloria Anderson, photo: E. G. Schempf
Rasgeado (1956), Collection of Dick and Gloria Anderson Courtesy of Dick and Gloria Anderson, photo by E. G. Schempf
Rasgeado (1956), Collection of Dick and Gloria Anderson Courtesy of Dick and Gloria Anderson, photo by E. G. Schempf
Rocking Pot (1956), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance and various donors and museum purchase, 1983, Photo courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Rocking Pot (1956), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance and various donors and museum purchase, 1983, Photo courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Covered Jar (1953), Museum of Arts and Design, gift of Aileen Osborn Webb, through the American Craft Council, 1967, Photo: Eva Heyd, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Covered Jar (1953), Museum of Arts and Design, gift of Aileen Osborn Webb, through the American Craft Council, 1967, Photo: Eva Heyd, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo: Butcher Walsh, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo: Butcher Walsh, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo: Butcher Walsh, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo: Butcher Walsh, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo: Butcher Walsh, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo: Butcher Walsh, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
photo: Oppi Untracht, courtesy American Craft Council Library and Archives
photo: Oppi Untracht, courtesy American Craft Council Library and Archives
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