Roberto Lugo: A Village Potter

  • On Wednesday, September 14, the Smithsonian American Art Museum hosted an artist talk with Roberto Lugo. Watch as Roberto Lugo details his studio practice and the intersections of identity, representation, empowerment, and storytelling in his work, now on display at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery in the exhibition This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World. From Sévres porcelain-inspired vessels depicting Frederick Douglass to life-size urns decorated with likenesses of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, Lugo adorns classical pottery forms with portraiture and surface design that incorporate his North Philadelphia roots and hip-hop culture. His hand-painted works reimagine traditional European and Asian ceramics, highlighting themes of poverty, inequality, and racial injustice.

    This program was presented both in person and online as part of SAAM’s annual Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art series, which highlights excellence and innovation in American art with outstanding artists, critics, and scholars.