Artist Ken Price Dies Before His Major Retrospective Aged 77

Ken Price

The death has been reported of L.A. artist Kenneth Price, whose work with glazed and painted clay has transformed traditional ceramics and expanded orthodox definitions of American and European sculpture since the 1960s. He was 77.

Price had just completed preparations for a 50-year retrospective, scheduled to open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this autumn, and travel on to the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

He is best known for his abstract shapes constructed from fired clay. Typically, they are not glazed, but intricately painted with multiple layers of bright acrylic paint and then sanded down to reveal the colours beneath. Price’s first solo show came at the Ferus Gallery in 1960 where he quickly became part of a developing art movement that included artists such as Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, John Altoon, John McCracken, Robert Irwin and Ed Ruscha, among many others. By the mid-1960s Price was a fixture in the west coast art scene.

In 1992, he was given his first retrospective, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1993 Price joined the Faculty at USC, as an art ceramics professor and remained an instructor there for ten years.

In recent years, Price had struggled with tongue and throat cancer, with his food intake restricted to liquids supplied through a feeding tube. But despite his illnes, he continued to produce challenging new work and to stage critically acclaimed exhibitions at galleries in Los Angeles, New York and Europe.

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