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Peter Voulkos

Rocking Pot
1956
stoneware
13 5/8 x 21 x 17 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance and various donors and museum purchase

Peter Voulkos's Rocking Pot is a dynamic sculpture that straddles the tradition of functional pottery and pure sculpture. It was made using the time-honored technique of throwing—the raising up of an object on the potter's wheel. Voulkos reinforced the earthiness of the clay by avoiding glaze, color, or metallic finishes. The spontaneity of the piece is most evident in the free-form cuttings of the openings. The result is a sculpture of compelling presence. Rocking Pot suggests an object used in sacred rituals or perhaps one whose function has been lost in time.