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Eden revisited: The ceramic art of Kurt Weiser

Arizona State University Art Museum
February 14 – May 16, 2009

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Overview

The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center is organizing the first major midcareer survey exhibition on the ceramic work of Kurt Weiser. Weiser is a Regents' Professor in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and maintains a studio in Tempe, Arizona. An unassuming genius, the artist is known for his technical mastery and inventive pottery forms. This hallmark exhibition comprises 40 ceramic sculptures drawn from the ASU Art Museum permanent collection, private and public collections nationwide and spans 30 years of creative excellence. Peter Held, curator of ceramics, curates the exhibition.

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Kurt Weiser in his studio

Kurt Weiser

Born in 1950, Weiser’s signature China-painted porcelain vessels constitutes a groundbreaking development in the vessel tradition. The emotional content of the work focuses on the nature of desire, tenderly in and out of harmony with nature, providing a rich narrative with lush imagery. Many major artists came out of Weiser’s alma mater, the Kansas City Art Institute, under the tutelage of ceramics master Ken Ferguson. Weiser received his BFA. in 1972 and his MFA. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1976. From 1977 to 1988, he was resident director of the famed Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, located in Helena, Montana. He was honored as a Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2003.

Artist’s Statement

For years, the work I did in ceramics was an effort to somehow express the beautiful nature of the material. As interesting as this exploration was, I always had the vague feeling that the best expression was if the material only came as a gift of nature. The problem was, nature and I never got along that well. Somewhere in the midst of this struggle, I realized that the materials are there to allow me to say what I need to say, not to tell me what to say. So I gave up trying to control nature and decided to use what I had learned about the materials to express some ideas about nature itself and my place in it.Kurt Weiser: Born in 1950, Weiser’s signature China-painted porcelain vessels constitutes a groundbreaking development in the vessel tradition. The emotional content of the work focuses on the nature of desire, tenderly in and out of harmony with nature, providing a rich narrative with lush imagery. Many major artists came out of Weiser’s alma mater, the Kansas City Art Institute, under the tutelage of ceramics master Ken Ferguson. Weiser received his BFA. in 1972 and his MFA. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1976. From 1977 to 1988, he was resident director of the famed Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, located in Helena, Montana. He was honored as a Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2003.

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Weiser's Eden Revisited Installation at the Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington

Public Collections

Weiser’s work can be found in the public collections of the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, Arizona; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina; Newark Museum of Art, Newark, New Jersey; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, Shigaraki, Japan; Helsinki Museum of Applied Arts, Helsinki, Finland; National Museum of History, Republic of China, Taipei, Taiwan, among others.

Exhibition Schedule

Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser

Nov. 1, 2007 – Jan. 6, 2008
Museum of Contemporary Craft
Portland, Oregon

Feb. 13 – April 20, 2008
Bellevue Arts Museum
Bellevue, Washington

May 29 – Aug. 24, 2008
Holter Museum of Art
Helena, Montana

Sept. 30 – Dec. 21, 2008
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art
Logan, Utah

Feb. 14 – May 16, 2009
ASU Art Museum
Tempe, Arizona

June 26 – Sept. 13, 2009
Erie Art Museum
Erie, Pennsylvania

Jan. 22 – March 20, 2010
Society for Contemporary Craft
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 29 – June 27, 2010
Southwest School of Art and Craft
San Antonio, Texas

Catalog

Information regarding the catalog for this exhibition can be found on our publications page.

Exhibition Artwork

Click on an image to see a larger version.