Kenneth Price

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Kenneth Price
'Tamed', whiteware and acrylic paint sculpture by Ken Price (American born 1935), 1988, Metropolitan Museum of Art.jpg
Tamed, whiteware and acrylic paint, Kenneth Price, 1984, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Born
Kenneth Price

(1935-02-16)February 16, 1935
DiedFebruary 24, 2012(2012-02-24) (aged 77)
NationalityAmerican
EducationChouinard Art Institute
Otis Art Institute
University of Southern California
The Art Institute of California - Los Angeles
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University
Known forPainting, Ceramics
MovementFetish Finish
Spouse(s)Happy Ward, m. 1968

Kenneth Price (February 16, 1935 – February 24, 2012) was an American artist who predominantly created ceramic sculpture. He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute and Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design) in Los Angeles, before receiving his BFA degree from the University of Southern California in 1956. He continued his studies at Chouinard Art Institute in 1957 and received an MFA degree from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1959. Kenneth Price studied ceramics with Peter Voulkos at Otis and was awarded a Tamarind Fellowship.

He is best known for his abstract shapes constructed from fired clay. Typically, they are not glazed, but intricately painted with multiple layers of bright acrylic paint and then sanded down to reveal the colors beneath. Ken Price lived and worked in Venice, California and Taos, New Mexico.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Price was born February 16, 1935, and raised in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. in 1937 when Price was approximately two years old, his family moved into a trailer on Santa Monica Beach for two years, next to Marion Davies's home, while building a new house in Pacific Palisades. In 1949, Price began at University High School, at which time he took up surfing. In 1952 while at University High, Price received a scholarship to attend Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts), where he took classes in life drawing and cartooning taught by Tee He.[1]

Price's earliest aspirations were to be an artist, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist. Even when I was a kid I would make drawings and little books, and cartoons..,"[2] he states. Price enrolled in his first art ceramics course at Santa Monica City College in 1954, where he quickly embraced a formal craft tradition as espoused by Marguerite Wildenhain.[3] He subsequently studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, before receiving his BFA degree from the University of Southern California in 1956.

As a student at USC, Price spent time visiting the ceramics studio at the Otis Art Institute where ceramic artist Peter Voulkos was teaching. Price has often cited Voulkos as his strongest single influence as a student. After finishing his degree at USC, Price spent a portion of the next year as a graduate student at Otis. There he studied (under Voulkos) with Billy Al Bengston, John Mason, Mike Frimkess, Paul Soldner, Henry Takemoto and Jerry Rothman. Price writes about the group at Otis: "We've been cited as the people who broke away from the crafts hierarchy and substituted so-called 'total freedom!' Actually we were a group of people who were committed to clay as a material and wanted to use it in ways that had something to do with our time and place."[4]

In 1958, Price left Otis for Alfred University (with a six-month detour in the Army Reserves).[4] "I went to Alfred to try and develop some low-fire, brightly colored glazes, but also to try and get away from the influence of Voulkos, which was very strong on me."[5] During his time at Alfred, Price was able to formulate some of the glazes he desired, using a lead base. In 1959, Price returned to Los Angeles having received an MFA in Ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.[6]

Mid career[edit]

Price describes Los Angeles upon his return and the beginnings of the L.A. art scene: "When I started out in L.A. in the late fifties there was no art scene at all really. I mean there was an art scene in New York, but there wasn't one in L.A. There were hardly any galleries. The museum was downtown and it didn't endorse contemporary art. And there were only about three viable art publications. The local newspaper critics didn't like us at all. There weren't any collectors, really very few. We made few sales, and for little money when we made them. But the people I knew were totally committed. And so was I. I was confused about a lot of things at that time, but not about being an artist. I knew that's what I had to be. And then later, around the mid-sixties, the whole scene cooked up: galleries, museums, foundations, art schools, and you know, lots more artists."[7]

Price's first solo show came at the Ferus Gallery in 1960 where he quickly became part of a developing art movement that included artists such as Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, John Altoon, John McCracken, Robert Irwin and Ed Ruscha, among many others. Price would have three solo shows during the short time Ferus was open, and by the mid-1960s Price was a fixture in the west coast art scene. Aside from six months Price spent in Japan in 1962,[5] Price would remain in Los Angeles until 1970, when he and his wife, Happy, relocated to Taos, New Mexico.[8]

Price's second solo museum exhibition was in 1978 at LACMA, where he presented the project that had consumed him for six years, Happy's Curios (1972–77), named in honor of his wife Happy. This was a room size installation made up of several wood cabinets with open shelves filled with highly colored glazed ceramic pots, plates, bowls, and cups that owed its inspiration to Mexican folk pottery.[1]

As Price's career developed he began using a different approach to finishing his ceramic sculptures. In 1983, Price and his wife moved to coastal Massachusetts, where they stayed for the next eight years. The move coincided with a massive shift in Price's work that would last until the end of his career, the move from glazes to acrylic paint. The technique Price began to develop during this period involved priming the fired ceramic sculpture with more than a dozen layers of acrylic paint. In 1991 After the Exhibition, Finish Fetish: L.A.'s Cool School, at Fisher Gallery at University of Southern California, several professors encourage Price to join the faculty. He becomes a professor of ceramics at USC where he teaches for 10 years. During that time back in Los Angeles, his son, Jackson, began to work with him in the studio, and Price experimented with using a cloth or cotton swab soaked in alcohol to work through layers of paint. This technique allowed for a blurred effect that achieved a new type of smoothness to the work. In the late 1990s, Price refined his technique still further, beginning to dry sand his acrylic painted surfaces. A technique he borrowed from the surfboard workshop according to Dave Hickey. Price was known to apply as many as a hundred layers of paint to a piece, in up to seven different colors.[9]

Late career[edit]

In 2001 Price became professor emeritus at USC. In 2002 Price and Happy returned permanently to Taos, where they built a studio attached to their home. In 2007 Price was diagnosed with cancer. After treatments in Los Angeles, he returned to Taos.

“Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective” bears the unique distinction of being the final show the artist helped plan. During his last two and a half years, before his death in February 2012 at age 77, Price contributed extensively to preparations for the show, which was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and designed by Frank Gehry, the artist's friend since the 1960s.[10]

In 2010, Price and his son Jackson opened Studio B, where they began to make much larger work.[1] In 2011 Price was awarded the USC Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ken Price died on February 24, 2012 at his home in Taos, New Mexico.

In September 2012, Price was the subject of a 50-year retrospective opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and traveling to the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In honor of the artist, the museum has displayed his 2011 piece "Zizi" in the lobby of its Ahmanson Building.[11] “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective” bears the unique distinction of being the final show the artist helped to plan. During his last two and a half years, before his death in February 2012 at age 77, Price contributed extensively to preparations for the show, which was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and designed by Frank Gehry, the artist's friend since the 1960s.[10]

Hot Bottoms, watercolor on paper, 2005

In September 2013, Price was also the subject of a works on paper retrospective titled 'Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper, 1962–2010' at the Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Drawing Center, and the Harwood Museum of Art.[citation needed]

His work is held in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art,[12] the Santa Barbara Museum of Art,[13] the Museum of Modern Art,[14] the University of Michigan Museum of Art,[15] the Norton Simon Museum,[16] and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.[17]

Selected one-person exhibitions[edit]

1960

  • Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles

1961

  • Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles

1964

  • Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles

1968

  • Kasmin Gallery, London

1969

  • Kenneth Price Cups, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles

1970

  • Kasmin Gallery, London
  • Ken Price: Figurine Cups, Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles (catalogue)

1971

  • David Whitney Gallery, New York. Traveled to Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles; Galerie Neuendorf, Cologne, Germany; and Galerie Neuendorf, Hamburg, Germany

1972

  • Fendrick Gallery, Washington D.C.
  • Ken Price: Interior Series, Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles (brochure)

1973

  • Galerie Neuendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  • Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles

1976

  • Ken Price, The Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
  • James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles

1978

  • Ken Price: Happy's Curios, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (catalogue)
  • Gallery of Contemporary Art, Taos, New Mexico

1979

  • Cups, Plates, and Drawings, Texas Gallery, Houston
  • Hansen-Fuller Gallery, San Francisco
  • Willard Gallery, New York

1980

  • Betsy Rosenfield Gallery, Chicago
  • Kenneth Price: Architectural Cups 1972–1974, Visual Arts Museum, New York
  • Ceramic Sculptures, Texas Gallery, Houston
  • Ken Price: Selections from Happy's Curios, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
  • James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles

1982

  • Images and Objects: Works by Kenneth Price, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
  • Willard Gallery, New York
  • James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles

1983

  • Ken Price, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York

1984

  • New Ceramics, Texas Gallery, Houston

1985

  • Willard Gallery, New York, New York
  • Betsy Rosenfield Gallery, Chicago

1986

  • Willard Gallery, New York, New York
  • Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco

1987

  • James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles

1989

  • Ken Price, The Greenberg Gallery, St Louis, Missouri. Traveled to Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, and Georges Lavrov Gallery, Paris (catalogue)

1990

  • Sena West Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

1991

  • James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles

1992

  • Ken Price, The Menil Collection, Houston (catalogue)
  • Ken Price Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles
  • Ken Price, Charles Cowles Gallery, New York

1994

  • Ken Price: Ceramic Sculpture & Drawings, Harwood Foundation Museum of the University of New Mexico, Taos, New Mexico
  • Recent Sculpture, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California
  • Ken Price: Career Survey, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York

1995

  • Ken Price: A Selected Survey 1960–1995, Beaver College Art Gallery, Glenside, Pennsylvania (catalogue)

1996

  • Ken Price: Geometric Works 1972–1983, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York
  • Ken Price, L.A. Louver, Venice, California

1997

  • Ken Price: New Work, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California
  • Ken Price, Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art, Overland Park, Kansas (brochure)
  • Ken Price: Recent Work, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York (catalogue)

1998

  • Ken Price, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York
  • Ken Price: Selected Sketches and Drawings of Early Cups and Geometric Sculptures, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York
  • Ken Price_Sculpture, April 30-June 6, Hill Gallery Birmingham, Michigan

1999

  • Ken Price, May 13 - June 19, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California
  • Ken Price: Works on Paper, 1966–1991, 871 Fine Arts, San Francisco
  • Ken Price: Sculptures and Drawings, James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico

2000

  • Ken Price: Lumps, Bumps, Eggs, and Specimens: Works from the 1960s, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York

2001

  • Ken Price: New Work, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York (catalogue)
  • Ken Price: New Work, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California
  • Ken Price: Recent Drawings, Off Main Gallery, Santa Monica, California
  • Recent Sculpture, Klein Art Works, Chicago

2002

  • Ken Price: New Work, Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
  • Ken Price: Small is Beautiful, University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, California (catalogue)
  • Ken Price, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California

2003

  • Ken Price, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

2004

  • Ken Price: Works on Paper, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
  • Ken Price Sculpture and Drawings 1994–2004, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas
  • Ken Price: Sculpture, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California

2005

  • Ken Price: Works on Paper, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California
  • Ken Price: Selected Work, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
  • Ken Price: Small Scale Sculpture, James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Ken Price Sculpture from 2004, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California

2006

  • Ken Price: Early Cups and Related Works on Paper, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York (catalogue)[18]
  • Ken Price, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (catalogue)

2007

  • Ken Price: New Work, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
  • Ken Price: Sculpture, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

2008

  • Ken Price: Prints and Ceramics, 1970 - 2005, Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, New York
  • Ken Price: Works from the Late '80s, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York (catalogue)
  • Ken Price, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California

2009

  • The Art Show 2009: Ken Price, Matthew Marks Gallery at the Armory, New York

2010

  • Ken Price, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
  • Ken Price: Collected Writings and Ephemera, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York
  • Ken Price: Sculpture and Drawings, Nyehaus, New York

2012-13

  • Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, LACMA; travels to Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (catalogue)[1]

Museum collections[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Barron, Stephanie (2012). Ken Price Sculpture : a Retrospective. Kenneth Price, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles, CA. ISBN 978-3-7913-5255-8. OCLC 786003173.
  2. ^ Price, Ken. "A Talk with Slides." Chinati Foundation Newsletter. (October 2005) pp. 22–23.
  3. ^ Price, Ken. "Personal Influences." Ceramics Monthly (September 1994) p. 32.
  4. ^ a b Price, Ken. "Personal Influences." Ceramics Monthly (September 1994) p. 31.
  5. ^ a b Price, Ken. "A Talk with Slides." Chinati Foundation Newsletter. (October 2005) p. 24.
  6. ^ "Kenneth Price dies at 77; artist transformed traditional ceramics". Los Angeles Times. 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  7. ^ Price, Ken. "A Talk with Slides." Chinati Foundation Newsletter. (October, 2005) p. 26.
  8. ^ Price, Ken. Interview with Mark Rosenthal, ed. Artists at Gemini G.E.L.: Celebrating the 25th Year. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1993) p. 130.
  9. ^ Ken Price : [a survey of sculptures and drawings]. Paul Schimmel, Hauser & Wirth London. Munich. 2017. ISBN 978-3-7913-5613-6. OCLC 959922661.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ a b Boucher, Brian (2013-03-05). "The Last Testament of Ken Price". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  11. ^ Finkel, Jori; Wetherbe, Jamie (February 24, 2012). "Art world responds to death of Kenneth Price". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ "Kenneth Price | Nail Polish and Lipstick". whitney.org. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  13. ^ "Izaak". collections.sbma.net. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  14. ^ "Ken Price. Double Frog Cup. (November 25-December 11) 1968 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  15. ^ "Exchange: Japanese Tree Frog Cup". exchange.umma.umich.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  16. ^ "Figurine Cup V » Norton Simon Museum". www.nortonsimon.org. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  17. ^ "Inez | Smithsonian American Art Museum". americanart.si.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  18. ^ a b Price, Kenneth (2007). Ken Price. Vija Celmins, Matthew Higgs, Matthew Marks Gallery. Göttingen: Steidl. ISBN 978-3-86521-315-0. OCLC 144521975.

Additional sources[edit]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Robert Irwin―Kenneth Price, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1966.
  • Price, Kenneth, Ken Price, Houston, Texas, Menil Collection, Houston Fine Art Press, 1992.
  • Price, Kenneth, Ken Price, Happy's Curios", Los Angeles, The Museum, 1978.
  • University of California, Irvine, Five Los Angeles Sculptors: Larry Bell, Tony DeLap, David Gray, John McCracken, Kenneth Price, University of California, Irvine, 1966