Los Angeles was fertile ground for some of the greatest achievements of the American Studio Ceramic Movement between the 1940s and the 1970s. In the auction on Sunday, October 9th, LAMA offers a number of examples by the leading practitioners of the movement whose work served as a catalyst in re-shaping attitudes toward clay. From Peter Voulkos and Paul Soldner, to Stan Bitters and Gertrud & Otto Natzler, Peter Loughrey, director of LAMA, provides his expert insight on the state of clay, while curator Jo Lauria contextualizes these masters works and their lasting influence. Read on!
The Los Angeles County Art Institute, which became the Otis College of Art and Design, was at the center of ceramic’s evolution as an artistic medium in America. In 1954 Peter Voulkos became head of its ceramics department. He brought with him energy, strength and a bold streak influenced by Abstract Expressionism–all new elements for the discipline. The kilns at Otis College became the launching pad for the new ceramic artistry. Voulkos’s students and colleagues joined the signal artistic movements of the sixties and seventies.
From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design:
Ceramics came into its own as a fine art form in the 1950s. Clay had been regarded as a second-class medium–more artisanal than artistic.
The crucible of that change was the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, in the ceramics studio headed by Peter Voulkos. LAMA’s May 17th auction includes a wonderful group of lots featuring the work of Voulkos and his colleagues and students–every significant artist at the heart of that revolution, including Paul Soldner, John Mason, Henry Takemoto, Ken Price, and Billy Al Bengston.