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Hole in One

1978 Peter Voulkos Born: Bozeman, Montana 1924 Died: Bowling Green, Ohio 2002 ceramic 43 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (110.5 x 41.9 cm) diam. Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Edith S. and Arthur J. Levin © 1978, Voulkos Family Trust 2005.5.73 Renwick Gallery
2nd Floor, Room 203


Gallery Label

Voulkos was studying painting on the G.I. Bill when he tried ceramics and "took to clay like a duck to water." He thought that clay was a living thing and insisted that "you gotta respond to that." Voulkos gave workshops on the Berkeley campus—lubricated with whiskey for the graduate students and jug wine for the undergrads—improvising and feeding off the crowd like a jazz musician. The burnt, punctured, and torn surfaces of Hole in One capture the bravura performance that Voulkos gave in the studio and that helped make ceramics a respectable art for "real men." He fired his works for several days in an anagama kiln, an ancient design that left unpredictable burns and breaks in the pottery. A work like Hole in One reflects the macho heroics of postwar American artists and, at the same time, evokes monuments and tomb figures crafted by Asian potters thousands of years ago.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

decorative arts - ceramic

Crafts - Clay

ceramic