Los Angeles

Ken Price, Snail Cup, 1968, glazed ceramic, 2 7/8 x 5 1/4 x 2 5/8".

Los Angeles

“Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective”

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
September 16, 2012–January 6, 2013

Curated by Stephanie Barron

With his “Snail Cups,” 1965–68; “Curios” (cabinets), 1972–78; and a quarry’s worth of psychedelic philosopher’s stones, the late Ken Price was the hairy potter our greed-driven times needed—one who conjured wonder from base materials. The wand that chose him was a paintbrush, and the canvas (or support) he championed—bowing to and freaking with influences and peers as various as Antoni Gaudí, Magritte, and John Altoon—was fired clay. Let’s just hope, for an artist who so exuberantly shrugged off the quandary of craft versus art, that LACMA’s exhibition, including almost one hundred sculptures dating from 1959 until 2011 and a dozen late works on paper, isn’t overengineered by its guest designer, Frank O. Gehry. The catalogue essays, especially Dave Hickey’s rhetorical glazing, should keep the gaze fixed on Price’s funky magic despite the goings-on.