Peter Voulkos, Iron Head, 1990, ceramic, 35 1/2 x 19 x 19".

Peter Voulkos

Franklin Parrasch Gallery | 22nd Street

Peter Voulkos, Iron Head, 1990, ceramic, 35 1/2 x 19 x 19".

This concise exhibition of ten ceramic pieces formed a rare survey of the work of Peter Voulkos, an artist whose production merits far broader examination. This signal potter/sculptor drastically ruptured the tropes that assign craftworks to a lesser status than art. There are, of course, many preconceptions that play into this conventional demotion—mostly, the association of clay-based crafts with utilitarian vessels and the belief that clay itself is of lesser status than paint (or wood or marble or bronze). Of course, other notables aspired to break this prejudice, but few did so as credibly as Voulkos, first among peers who include Ken Price (once his student) and Andrew Lord.

Following a wartime stint in the Pacific Theater, Voulkos (1924–2002) earned an MFA in ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1952. The following summer, while teaching ceramics

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