Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ken Price at the Metropolitan Museum

Before falling down a flight of subway steps the other day I had been at the Met viewing the wonderful Ken Price retrospective. The beautifully installed show (designed by Frank Gehry no less) is a loopy and loony tactile beach blanket bingo of Price’s colorful California dreaming abstract ceramic sculptures most of them small but there are some larger pieces also included. But it’s the compact smaller works including his early marvelous cups that drew me in. I’ve always liked his work with their sci-fi creatures from another planet soft looking oozing and foaming yet hard to the touch pieces. I had to keep my hands in my pockets through most of the exhibit because I had such an urge to touch and caress these works, craggy and smooth with mysterious pock marked surfaces and glow in the dark like colors, really as I said very sci-fi. Also some of his smaller works especially his “eggs” have creepy crawling like small things hatching out of them that are lovely and disgusting at the same time. The pieces have a nature like quality to them like something you might find out in the woods on a misty rainy early morning walk or on a beautiful beach sticking out of the sand but they are also very artificial looking , like props for some cheap sci-fi movie with sets made of paper mache and cellophane (see for instance the wonderful1959 film “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” to see what I mean). Also included are a healthy dose of his small brightly colored "architectural" pieces which refer back to the Art Deco and Constructionist movements that he did early in his career. And then of course there is his touch how he used his medium his clay to make these fantastic ceramic objects and sculptures , a touch that is quite amazing and frankly is beyond my comprehension.


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