Lines of Sophistication
BALLS CONGO 2003 - Fired and painted clay - Photo by Linda Schlenger
Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective
on display at the Nasher Sculpture Center
Starting this February 9 through May 12, 2013, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas will host a groundbreaking exhibition featuring almost 100 pieces from the prolific ceramic artist, Ken Price (1935-2012). Price first rose to prominence in the 1960s for his luminously glazed ovoid forms and suggestive, molten-like masses, which positioned him within the larger narrative of modern American sculpture. Scheduled during the one-year anniversary of Los Angeles born sculptor’s passing (February 24, 2012), the exhibition follows his life’s work while honoring his creativity, originality and revolutionary art practice.
Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective moves the artist’s work outside of the realm of craft and into the dialogue of contemporary sculpture. To situate his works within a sculptural context, the exhibition is installed in reverse chronology. 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, the exhibition reviews his career in a broader and yet more integrated way, establishing connections and linkages across the years, rather than in simple 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 20 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 70 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 that is anthropomorphic. Eleven works on paper and two large-scale sculptures from 2011 to 2012 are also included in the exhibition.
“This brilliant exhibition demonstrates conclusively Ken Price’s position as one of the most important sculptors of the past half century,” notes Nasher Sculpture Center Director, Jeremy Strick.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Frank O. Gehry, a close friend of Price’s since the 1960s, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and, after its presentation at the Nasher Sculpture Center, will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 18 – September 22, 2013.)
The Nasher Sculpture Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 11 p.m. for special events. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students and free for members and children 12 and under.