Robert Arneson

American, 1930–1992

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Robert Arneson

American, 1930–1992

274
Followers
Biography

Known for his colorful ceramic sculptures, Robert Arneson is considered the founder of the Funk Art movement, a strand of Californian Pop Art. Departing from the original influence of Picasso’s early ceramics on his work, Arneson significantly advanced the status of clay as an artistic form, appropriating functional items like pots, bricks, telephones, and toilets, and turning them into objects of absurdist humor. His visual puns—a phallic teapot, a toaster with a hand inside it—became surreal, sometimes controversial, statements. Arneson also produced highly colored drawings and sculpted self-portraits; his busts playfully mocked the figure of the artist in the world. His style has been compared to that of writers like Thomas Pynchon or Kurt Vonnegut, presenting a cartoonish or caricatured version of life.

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Career Highlights
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Solo show at a major institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and 1 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
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Included in a major biennial
Whitney Biennial
Biography

Known for his colorful ceramic sculptures, Robert Arneson is considered the founder of the Funk Art movement, a strand of Californian Pop Art. Departing from the original influence of Picasso’s early ceramics on his work, Arneson significantly advanced the status of clay as an artistic form, appropriating functional items like pots, bricks, telephones, and toilets, and turning them into objects of absurdist humor. His visual puns—a phallic teapot, a toaster with a hand inside it—became surreal, sometimes controversial, statements. Arneson also produced highly colored drawings and sculpted self-portraits; his busts playfully mocked the figure of the artist in the world. His style has been compared to that of writers like Thomas Pynchon or Kurt Vonnegut, presenting a cartoonish or caricatured version of life.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and 1 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Whitney Biennial
Shows Featuring Robert Arneson
Articles Featuring Robert Arneson
25 Artists Confront Humankind’s Problems in a Summer Show at Allan Stone Projects
Jun 23rd, 2015
Blurring the Boundaries of Form and Function at Allan Stone Projects
Jul 18th, 2014
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