Art Talk - Ken Price: Glowing Ceramic With Weird Holes

Friday, June 28, 2013

Some galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are featuring weird objects that look like glowing moon rocks...with strange holes.  They are courtesy of Ken Price, a ceramic sculptor from Los Angeles who died last year.

Art critic Deborah Solomon says Price's work makes one do a rare thing in the fast-paced world of art fairs these days: Pause and look. "Ken Price is impossible to walk by," she said. "These are objects that are both familiar an unfamiliar. They demand your attention," she explained.

Price was obsessed with orifices, and many of the pieces have cavities that suggest ear canals, nostrils, and less savory anatomical parts. "He gives you at the same time this beautiful surfaces, but these rather unsettling holes, that makes you think... I don't know if my eye wants to go there," she said.

Solomon explains Price was overshadowed by other artists who were doing gigantic sculptures, but that's about to change. "He is a real artist artist. Not yet a household name, but I think the show will certainly broaden his reputation," she said. "I think of it as the quiet sensation of the summer."

Price is also the the subject of a show at the Drawing Center, in Soho.


Solomon wonders what art makes you stop and look? Leave a comment below. And to listen to the whole interview with Solomon, click on the audio link above.

Ken Price - L. Red
Ken Price - Snail Cup
Ken Price - Hunchback of Venice
Ken Price - Zizi
Courtesy of The Drawing Center
Ken Price, Frog Cups
Courtesy of The Drawing Center
Ken Price, Desert Architecture
Courtesy of The Drawing Center
Ken Price, Sea Turtle Cup

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Comments [8]

Lisa from New York City

Thank you Deborah. Anything that makes me stop and pause these days is a welcomed respite. I was intrigued by your description of Ken Price's ceramic objects. I look forward to my visit to the Met, and seeing whether I spend more than 8 seconds before one or more of them.

Jun. 29 2013 10:29 AM
Deborah Solomon

Thanks for writing, Nenna and Penelope. Socrates Sculpture Park sounds like it is creating a generation of kindergarten-aged aesthetes. Enjoy!

Jun. 28 2013 10:51 PM
Nnenna from Harlem

The kind of art that makes me stop and look is the kind that manages to create a sort of friction with my sensibilities. Somehow it sloughs the dullness from the eyes and makes the world look new. Art that does this for someone who has been living in this town a good long while...well this is truly a rare and impressive thing...

Jun. 28 2013 09:37 PM
Penelope from Astoria

One of my favorite places to "stop and look at art" is Socrates Sculpture Park. As a mother of three, we stop there regularly and learn about and see art. The amazing things about the park are:
The studios are adjacent to the exhibition space. Hence, we watch sculptures made before they are exhibited.
The sculptures are interactive.
There is a great big space for children to run and play.
And curious kids can touch the sculptures.

These are things we can't do at most other museums. Hence, the average 21st century viewer spends one second at each artwork :(

NPR....Thank you for covering Ken Price. He is an important figure in art history.

Jun. 28 2013 08:28 PM
Sally patt from New york

Deborah Solomon is right on target about Ken Price. One must stop to study these unique abstract sculptures with their beautifully painted and textured surfaces.

Jun. 28 2013 12:51 PM
Allyson from Callicoon, NY

Interesting question! Exhibits which are less crowded cause me to slow down and investigate the art more thoroughly. Also access to information about the artist and the work is useful, or ideally a galleries who is interested in conversing about the work.

Jun. 28 2013 11:54 AM
deborah Solomon

Thanks, Molly. I agree entirely. Here's to more benches in museums!

Jun. 28 2013 11:16 AM
Molly from Brooklyn

What art makes me stop and look is a good question as I often feel like I run through exhibitions and have recently tried to slow down. Maybe adding more places to sit would help visitor to take time within an exhibition. I think I stop the most when I revisit old favorites - like a Rothko. Or, one of my favorite spots, James Turrell room at P.S. 1.

Jun. 28 2013 11:06 AM

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