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Peter Voulkos

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Peter Voulkos
Contemporary Ceramic sculpture
(Bozeman, MT, 1924 - 2002, Bowling Green, OH)

Among the most influential figures of American ceramics, Peter Voulkos created sculpture that elevated the medium of ceramics to “new levels of abstraction and personal expression,” in the words of The New York Times arts writer Roberta Smith. Following a 1953 summer teaching post at Black Mountain College, where he befriended Franz Kline, Voulkos founded two important ceramics departments on the West Coast: first in 1954 at the Los Angeles County Art Institute, now known as the Otis College of Art and Design; and next in 1959 at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remained on faculty until 1985.While on sabbatical, Voulkos was invited to present an artist lecture and demo in New Orleans at Tulane University. His visit occurred in the Spring 1978 semester, from February 28 through March 3, and it accompanied a three-week solo exhibition in the space now known as the Carroll Gallery. His visit was sponsored by the then recently established Alumni Visiting Artists Program, which was founded by two 1965 Newcomb graduates, Patty Whitty Johnson and Mary Sue Nelson Roniger. Voulkos earned a BS in Painting from Montana State University and an MFA in 1953 from the California College of the Arts and Crafts in Oakland. In 2016 a solo exhibition of his work, “Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years,” opened at the Museum of Art and Design in New York and traveled in 2017 to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington DC.

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