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Ken Price

Emerging as a sculptor of clay in a time when clay was only exhibited as a decorative art, Ken Price was long considered the center of the L.A. avant-garde. In his later work, he challenged the definition of ceramics by applying acrylic paint instead of glaze to the clay surface. Not only did he reject traditional finishes, but his use of color was unprecedented—creating pieces that seem to be made of color.


Price never alienated ceramic tradition completely. He often referenced the space encompassed in traditional ceramic vessels by creating a cavity, hole, or hollow in his sculptural work. Price is instrumental in the interpretation of contemporary craft and largely responsible for the inclusion of ceramics in contemporary exhibitions.


Related artists in KMAC's collection:

Betty Woodman


Click to view an archival list of all artists in the collection.


Recurring themes:

Material Culture


KMAC exhibitions:

Permanent Collection: Recent Acquisitions


Reference material:

Barron, Stephanie, et al. Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2012.


Clark, Garth, and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Ceramic Millennium: Critical Writings on Ceramic History, Theory and Art. Halifax: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 2006


Del Vecchio, Mark. Postmodern Ceramics. New York: Thames & Hud, 2001.


Lynn, Martha Drexler. American Studio Ceramics: Innovation and Identity, 1940 to 1979. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.


Price, Kenneth, et al. Ken Price. New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 2007.


Price, Kenneth, Menil Collection, and Walker Art Center. Ken Price. Houston: Menil Collection, 1992.


Price, Kenneth, Alex Kitnick, and Matthew Marks Gallery. Ken Price: The Large Sculptures. New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 2014.



Surrounding the Void

Surrounding the Void

Clay and acrylic paint. Courtesy of Mary and Rev. Al Shands.

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