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A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes opens at the Currier Museum of Art
Winged Vessel, Karen Karnes, 1989, produced in Morgan, VT, glazed stoneware, wood-fired, 12 x 32 x 32 in. Collection of Mindy and Michael Solomon. Photo: Anthony

MANCHESTER, NH.- The Currier Museum of Art will present A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes (August 27 through Dec. 3), celebrating Karnes’ more than 60-year career at the forefront of the studio pottery movement. From her dramatic salt-glazed pottery of the 1960s and ‘70s, to her more recent complex joined sculptural pieces, Karnes (born 1925), of Morgan, Vermont, is one of the medium’s most influential working potters and is a mentor to several generations of studio potters.

Throughout her career, Karnes has created some of the most iconic pottery of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. She has worked at some of the most significant cultural settings of her generation including North Carolina’s avant-garde Black Mountain College and Gate Hill Cooperative in Stony Point, NY in the 1950s.

“Karen is one of the originators of the art pottery movement in the United States, and I am thrilled that the Currier was chosen as one of only a handful of venues to host the exhibition,” said Kurt Sundstrom, associate curator, Currier Museum of Art. “Visitors to the exhibition will experience artwork that has a mystic beauty which appeals to the eye and the mind.”

A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes is her first retrospective exhibition, and is accompanied by a book-length monograph. The exhibition is organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, Arizona, and curated by ASU Curator of Ceramics Peter Held. The exhibition is generously funded by an Artist’s Exhibition Series grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, with additional funds provided by the Ceres Trust, the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design and the Friends of Contemporary Ceramics.

Exciting programming at the museum to accompany the Karnes exhibition includes:

ARTalk: Imagination, Politics and Community in the Work of Karen Karnes Sunday, September 18, at 2 pm. Features Kurt Sundstrom, Currier Associate Curator; Christopher Benfey, Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College; and Mark Shapiro, internationally exhibiting studio potter and editor of A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes catalogue. Panelists will discuss the back-to-the-land movement and the cultural, political and art-historical contexts in which Karnes’ career unfolded. FREE with museum admission.

Film Screening: Don’t Know We’ll See: The Work of Karen Karnes Sunday, October 16, 3 – 5 pm. Don’t Know We’ll See (Run time: 62 min) beautifully captures the work and life of master ceramicist Karen Karnes, revealing her approach to art and the creative process. The film underscores Karnes’ grounding in nature and her connection to natural rhythms. The artist will be in attendance and will take questions after the film, as well as sign exhibition catalogues. FREE with museum admission.

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