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  Adrian
Saxe
Christopher Knight, Art Critic of the Los Angeles Times, writes “With outrageous humor and unspeakable beauty, (Saxe) makes intensely seductive objects that exploit traditional anthropomorphic qualities associated with ceramics. Having pressed the question of the utility of his own art in a post-industrial world, his work engages us in a dialogue about our own place in a radically shifting cultural universe. The result is that Saxe has become the most significant ceramic artist of his generation.”

Rare among artists working clearly within ceramic traditions (as contrasted with artists like Anthony Caro who may use clay as a material in their practice), Saxe receives critical comment and review in articles by writers in art journals and other publications that regularly exclude artists working in craft media. Peter Schjeldahl, poet, and art critic for The New Yorker, has written that “Saxe is a virtuoso in sharp focus and at a screaming pitch, nothing if not overbearing. His fantastically ornate vessels, their academic orders exaggerated, are spectacularly skilled, harshly jokey, and show-off erudite. Saxe’s ceramics are engines of simultaneous seduction and insult. This work that can be neither resisted nor succumbed to is a sort of materialized, exploded history and philosophy of ceramics, putting into play disparate lore and analysis of the medium. Saxe makes of the collectibles trade an improbable site of reflection on civilization and its discontents.” And, “I get the same relaxing feeling from his work that I have from the very best work in any field: of being in good hands, and of those hands being entirely visible, all cards on the table.”

Saxe’s early work was primarily concerned with site-specific sculpture that employed large arrays of modular ceramic elements on the walls (and sometimes the floor) that affected and distorted perceptual readings of the space they occupied. These works also explored systematic development of formal compositions. Some of these pieces were exhibited in the early 1970’s at the (now defunct) Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, as well as at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Saxe has made pottery since the early 1970’s. When he began exhibiting in France in the 1980’s, and was an artist in residence for six-months at the Manufacture national de Sevres, his work was characterized by the French as sculpture whose subject was pottery. He has worked with the ceramic vessel because he saw a unique opportunity to deal with challenging and complex social and cultural content in a format that was utterly appealing and accessible to a broad audience. Since the early 1980’s, Saxe has sought to reinvent, and bring up-to-date, a role for ceramic art that employs decorative art conventions to mirror, comment upon, and redirect social and cultural expectations surrounding a number of topical themes.

Saxe has had numerous solo shows at Garth Clark Gallery, New York, and at Frank Lloyd Gallery, Los Angeles. Other one-person exhibition venues have included the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston, the Gallery of Art at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and The American Hand, Washington, D.C.. He participates in numerous national and international invitational exhibitions. His work has been seen in important museum exhibitions such as Going for Baroque at The Contemporary / Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore (18 artists including Jeff Koons, Derek Jarman, Andres Serrano, Bryan Hunt, Frank Stella, and Cindy Sherman, with catalog), and the large traveling survey Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000, (catalog), organized by Jo Lauria for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He was selected by Janet Mansfield, Editor of Ceramics: Art and Perception, as one of the ten most outstanding artists working in ceramics for the invitational exhibition, Artisti dal Mondo, May 1999 through January 2000, at il Museo Internazionale della Ceramiche in Faenza, Italy.

Saxe was commissioned to create a major work for the first exhibition of contemporary art at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition, Departures: 11 Artists at the Getty, included artists John Baldessari, Lari Pittman, Stephen Prina, and others. It was on view from late February through May 2000. The artists were commissioned to create a work in response to the permanent collection. Saxe made a large installation of seven large porcelain and stoneware sculptures presented on 18th century French Rococo gilded furnishings from the Getty’s collection. The piece was presented in an articulated architectural setting built specifically for the exhibition. A catalog of the exhibition is available.

Saxe’s work was the subject of a major mid-career survey organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1993-94. The exhibition traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shigaraki, Japan, and to the Newark Museum of Art. The Clay Art of Adrian Saxe, published in association with this exhibition by Thames and Hudson and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art includes essays by Martha Drexler Lynn, curator of the exhibition, and Jim Collins of Notre Dame University. This 160 page hard-cover book contains 164 illustrations, 64 color, in addition to an extensive annotated checklist explicating the development and specific undertaking of individual works included in the exhibition.



Awards

2014     Regis Master Award for 2014
2002     Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship
2001     Flintridge Foundation Visual Artists Award for 2001-2002
1987     United States/France Exchange Fellowship, United States Information             Agency and the Government of France
1986     National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Fellowship
            University of California, Faculty Research Grant
1984     Art Council, University of California, Los Angeles, Faculty Grant
1983     Atelier Expérimental de Recherche de Création, Manufacture Nationale de             Sevres, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France. Artist Fellowship
1977     University of California, Faculty Research Grant
1976     University of California, Faculty Research Grant
1974     University of California, Faculty Research Grant
1973     University of California, Faculty Research Grant

Education

1974        California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA – B.F.A.
1965-69    Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles

Museum Collections

Arizona State University Art Museum, Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, Arizona
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York
Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio
Carnegie Museum of Art, Institute and Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh,
       Philadelphia
Cooper-Hewitt Museum Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Design, New York
Cultural Affairs Commission, County of Los Angeles, California
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire
de Young Museum, San Francisco, California
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
Gardiner Museum, Ontario, Canada
Kruithuis Museum, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, North Carolina
Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Pavillion de Marsan, Palais de Louvre, Paris
Musée National de Céramique de Sevres, Sevres, France
Museum of Arts and Design, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas
Newark Art Museum, Newark, New Jersey
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum, Logan, Utah
Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, California
Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
Renwick Gallery, National Collection of American Art, Smithsonian Institution,
       Washington, D.C.
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, Rhode Island
Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Shigaraki, Japan
Taipei Museum of Fine Art, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
The White House, Washington, D.C.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2011     GRIN—Genetic Robotic Information Nano (Technologies), Frank Lloyd Gallery,
                     Santa Monica, California
2004     New Work, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
2000     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1998     The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
1997     Wish I may, Wish I might, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
            Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1996     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1995     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1994     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1993     The Clay Art of Adrian Saxe, Los Angeles County Museum of Art traveled to the
                      Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shigaraki, Japan and
                      Newark Museum, New Jersey (thru 1995)
1992     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1991     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
            Garth Clark Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri
1990     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1989     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1988     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1987     Art Gallery, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri
            Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1985     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
            The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
            Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1983     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
            The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
            Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts
1982     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
            The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
1980     The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
1979     The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
1973     The American Hand, Washington, D.C.
1970     Canyon Gallery II, Los Angeles, California