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Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Installation view, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ©Ken Price. Photo ©Fredrik Nilsen.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, a groundbreaking exhibition featuring 100 works by the prolific ceramic artist, Ken Price (1935-2012). On view in the Resnick Pavilion from September 16, 2012 through January 6, 2013, the exhibition traces the development of Price’s sculptural practice from his luminously glazed ovoid forms to his suggestive, molten-like slumps, positioning him within the larger narrative of modern American sculpture. This sculptural retrospective honors the late artist’s creativity, originality, and revolutionary art practice.

“For more than fifty years, Los Angeles artist Ken Price made remarkable and innovative works that have challenged contemporary sculptural practice,” says Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art and curator of the exhibition. “It is only through assembling the entire range of his sculpture on the occasion of this retrospective (it has been twenty years since the last one), that we can see the essential unity of his sculptural practice — the connections that exist among different periods and styles. Price’s work commands a unique position somewhere between sculpture and painting.”

The exhibition is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Frank O. Gehry, a close friend of Price’s since the 1960s. After its presentation at LACMA, the exhibition will travel to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (February 9- May 12, 2013) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 18- September 22, 2013).

Exhibition Overview
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. The first gallery presents work from 2000 to 2011, including new sculptures from the last years of his life. In the late 1990s, Price began a new series of mottled sculptures, for which he has become most well-known. The work’s surface is composed of roughly seventy layers of 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.

The middle gallery displays work from 1959 to 2000 and 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, this large main gallery reviews his career in a broader and yet more integrated way, establishing connections and linkages across the years, rather than in simple series. Eleven works on paper and two large-scale sculptures from 2011 to 2012 are also presented in this gallery.

Finally, the last gallery displays three of the units from his 1970s project Happy’s Curios as well as sculptures made in the last year of his life. Named after his wife Happy, Happy’s Curios were comprised of large cabinets, filled with between eight and twenty or more ceramics mimicking the style of Mexican folk pottery. The recent sculptures in this gallery continue the speckled surface that has become iconic of his late sculptures.

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