One of the most captivating exhibitions of contemporary ceramics ever, “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” organized by the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, firmly places this late West Coast master in the realm of contemporary sculptors, eschewing a narrow craft definition. Long before Chihuly broke through the confines of the craft kingdom, the Los Angeles–born Price was showcased in serious galleries and accepted by museum curators, including the incomparable Walter Hopps, who gave the artist one of his first exhibitions at the Ferus Gallery in the early 1960s, then showcased Price some 30 years late in an important traveling solo organized by The Menil Collection. A former professor of ceramics at USC, Price spent the final decade of his life in Taos, where he continued to push and probe the possibilities of fired and painted clay, vis-à-vis his famed mottled and molten creations. Despite the often small size of these clay works, they pack a punch and possess a power that transcends their time, place and medium. Architect Frank Gehry, a friend and fan of the ceramicist for more than 50 years, specially designed the exhibition, which makes the second stop of its national tour in Dallas at the Nasher Sculpture Center next February, before heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the summer of 2013. On view September 16, 2012 – January 6, 2013, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (lacma.org); February 9 – May 12, 2013, at the Nasher Sculpture Center (nashersculpturecenter.org); June 18 –September 22, 2013, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org).
Ken Price’s L. Red, 1963, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo courtesySFMOMA, San Francisco, © Ken Price, photo © Fredrik Nilsen