Biography of Kenneth Price
The distinctive molten-like sculptures of Kenneth Price stand as one of postwar American art's singular achievements. Written off for much of his career, it was not until the final years of his life and with the announcement that a prominent retrospective would travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York that interest in his work exploded and he received the recognition he had long deserved.
Kenneth Price's work was quite radical, taking its inspiration from artisans who produced pottery in villages all around Mexico—such sculptures had never before been seen in a gallery context. These oozing and flowing forms appeared to suddenly be captured, momentarily frozen, then coated with layers of psychedelic colors. Influenced too by the experimental Bauhaus movement he sought to fuse crafts and fine arts, preferring studio labor to commerical fabricators.
Price always wanted his sculptures to appear as though they were made from color. Layering acrylic paint as much as 70 times on occasions, he would delicately sand the works to reveal the underlying hues of color, creating his magnificent chromatic effects. Kenneth Price's beautifully crafted art was often lightened by an erotic wit, but despite their provocative nature his sculptures always remained respectful of the critical standards of ceramic history.
Born in 1935 in Los Angeles, USA, the artist knew from a young age that he wanted to be an artist and his interest in ceramics developed after visiting thrift stores. After a long and courageous fight against throat cancer, Kenneth Price died in 2012. There are now Price ceramics and limited edition prints and multiples in prestigious museums around the world, including MoMA, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. His 50-year retrospective began in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and traveled around America including the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas and as previously mentioned the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York.