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View of “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” 2013, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Foreground, from left: Little D, 2011; Ordell, 2011–12;Venus, 2000.

Ken Price

The Drawing Center / Metropolitan Museum of Art

View of “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” 2013, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Foreground, from left: Little D, 2011; Ordell, 2011–12;Venus, 2000.

AN ICONIC KEN PRICE SCULPTURE finds its way into a pool in his 1968 collage Floating Turtle Cup; sketched onto a found photograph of a naked woman wearing a tiara, it seems to be swimming by her, trailing in its wake a scribbled note: SEE IF TURTLE CUPS WILL FLOAT? SHOTS IN POOL—. A kindred ceramic vessel makes an appearance in the drawing Sea Turtle Cup from the following year, wherePrice’s experiment in animating his sculptures deepens: See if cups will become turtles? Oblivious to us, and to the enormous cup with handle protruding out of its shell, a turtle glides orthogonally by in a graphite ocean, white circles bubbling up from the mug as if the creature is breathing through it. The question of what is natural pervades Price’s work—from his first animal earthenware, to the ambiguously biomorphic sculptures that defined the bulk of his career, to the eerie landscapes

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