Out of Craft into Sculpture

Nasher Sculpture Center
Apr 30, 2013 4:41PM

Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective moves the artist’s work outside of the realm of craft and into the dialogue of contemporary sculpture. A rich selection of work from 1959 to 2011 highlights each of the major styles of his prolific career including slumps, rocks, geometrics, cups, eggs, and mounds. While Price tended to progress in loose series, Ken Price Sculpture reviews his career in a broader and yet more integrated way, establishing connections and linkages across the years, rather than within individual series. The exhibition also includes displays of two of the units from his 1970s project Happy’s Curios. Named after his wife Happy, Happy’s Curios were comprised of large cabinets, filled with between eight and twenty or more ceramics mimicking the style of Mexican folk pottery.

The work from 1995 to 2011 highlights sculptures from the last years of his life. In this period, Price began a new series of mottled sculptures, for which he has become most well-known. The work’s surface is composed of roughly seventy layers of acrylic paint that he painstakingly sanded, each stratum uncovered as he varied the pressure of his sanding. The result is a lyrical composition of colors held together in a layered arrangement. Eleven works on paper and two large scale sculptures from 2011 to 2012 are also included in the exhibition.

Ken Price, Balls Congo,2003 Fired and painted clay, 22 x 18 x 18 in., Linda Schlenger © Ken Price. Photo © Fredrik Nilsen.

Ken Price, L. Blue,1961, Ceramic painted with lacquer and acrylic on wood base, 6 x 9 x 5 in., Ken Price © Ken Price. Photo © Fredrik Nilsen.

Ken Price, L. Red,1963, Ceramic painted with lacquer and acrylic on wood base, 13 1/2 x 12 x 10 in., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Evelyn and Walter Hass, Jr. Fund Purchase; 82.155 © Ken Price. Photo © Fredrik Nilsen.

Ken Price, Pastel,1995, Fired and painted clay, 14 1/2 x 15 x 14 in. James Corcoran Gallery, © Ken Price. Photo © Fredrik Nilsen.

Ken Price, Big Load,1988, Fired and painted clay, 12 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 17 in. Stéphane Janssen, Arizona, © Ken Price. Photo © Fredrik Nilsen.

Nasher Sculpture Center