Eden Revisited

The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser

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October 31, 2007 – January 06, 2008

Curated by: Peter Held

Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser is the first full-scale critical survey of one of America’s most ingenious ceramic artists, Kurt Weiser. Shaped from his influential childhood experiences during the baby boom
years, the artist demonstrated an early disposition for the visual arts, encouraged by his parents and teachers. While attending the Kansas City Art Institute, he became a protégé of Ken Ferguson, a highly acclaimed ceramist
and educator who quickly recognized Weiser’s abilities and determination.

With a solid foundation in the history of ceramics and mastering studio techniques, Kurt Weiser became Resident Director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, an internationally acclaimed residency program located in Helena, Montana. During his 11 year tenure (1976 – 1988), he was able to attract some the best talents of his generation as well as recruit ceramic artists from abroad. During this era, Weiser concentrated on producing functional ceramics which were inspired by his love of Asian pottery traditions, using a wide range of firing and building techniques. Towards the end of his Bray tenure, his work shifted to slip cast porcelain vessels.

In 1989, he accepted a teaching position at Arizona State University, where his work took a dramatic turn. Paying homage to the rich European and Asian china painting traditions, he began to paint surreal, lushly painted porcelain vases, creating provocative and unnerving narrative vessels that were met with critical praise worldwide. He is a true postmodernist, informed by daydreams, study travels and exotic fantasies. Redefining his artistic career over three decades of creative excellence as a skilled potter, master draftsman, and accomplished china painter, Kurt Weiser, an American original, has created a singular body of work that provides insight into the mind.

Kurt Weiser is represented in major museum and private collections throughout the country. In 2003, he received the Aileen Osborn Webb Award from the American Craft Council for consummate craftsmanship.

Organized by the Ceramics Research Center at Arizona State University Art Museum and curated by Peter Held, Curator of Ceramics, Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser was made possible with the support of the Windgate Charitable Foundation’s Artist’s Exhibition Fund, which allowed for the publication of the catalogue and underwriting to all the museums hosting this exhibition. Support was also provided by the Ceramic Leaders at ASU and Friends of the ASU Art Museum. Additional support for the exhibition tour was provided by: Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon; Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington; Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana; Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah; Erie Art Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania; Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the Southwest School of Art and Crafts, San Antonio, Texas.