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Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race to Open at Albright-Knox Art Gallery on September 27, 2013

August 20, 2013

Buffalo, NY – The Albright-Knox Art Gallery presents Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper, 1962–2010, the first comprehensive survey of drawings by the sculptor Ken Price (American, 1935–2012). A selection of sixty-five works on paper tracks Price’s dedication to drawing for more than fifty years, and demonstrates his ongoing exploration of the medium. Albright-Knox Chief Curator Douglas Dreishpoon organized Slow and Steady Wins the Race in collaboration with The Drawing Center in New York. 

In his essay for the exhibition catalogue, Dreishpoon notes, “That Price drew prolifically over the course of fifty years is not at all surprising; drawing has always been a way for sculptors to dream on paper. What is remarkable, though, is the degree to which his notion of drawing continued to evolve.” 

The Los Angeles and Taos–based sculptor sustained a quiet storm of intense creativity with drawing that, until recently, remained under the art world’s radar. For years Price drew with no audience in mind. Drawing functioned early on as a means to explore multiple themes, some decidedly sculptural, to visualize an object’s physical properties and presentation, and, in some instances, to determine if it was worth tackling an idea in clay. Drawing also functioned from the start as a way to relax, to stretch out and improvise imaginary scenes, and, at times, to fantasize. Price always approached drawing as an independent endeavor with its own inherent challenges and rewards. 

Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, recently on view at The Drawing Center, will travel to the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico, after its showing at the Albright-Knox. In Buffalo, the exhibition will be contextualized with a special installation dedicated to the work of the artist’s friends—including John Altoon, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Craig Kauffman, Robert Irwin, and Ed Moses—all of whom, along with Price, exhibited their work at the Ferus Gallery (1957–1966), a creative incubator on North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ferus contingent was a tight artistic circle. In a 2005 interview with Dreishpoon, Price described their relationship: “We were friendly competitors, but we were congenial. Some of my really good friends were in there.” The Ferus installation is a tribute to those sometimes contentious but formative relationships.

Ken Price was born in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on February 16, 1935. He enrolled in his first ceramics course at Santa Monica City College in 1953, a year after he took classes in life drawing and cartooning at the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts). His notion of ceramic sculpture evolved significantly during his studies with Peter Voulkos (American, 1924–2002), from 1955 to 1957, at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (later the Otis Art Institute). In 1959, he earned an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He had his first solo exhibition in 1960 at the now legendary Ferus Gallery. Since then, Price’s work has been extensively published and exhibited nationally and internationally. In 1992, Walter Hopps, founding director of The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, organized a prescient survey of Price’s sculptures. In 2004, the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, mounted an exhibition of sculptures and works on paper dated from 1994 to 2004. When the sculptor died on February 24, 2012, he had given his blessing to two retrospectives: one organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which opened last September, and this exhibition, co-organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and The Drawing Center.

Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race will remain on view until January 19, 2014. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue that includes an essay by Dreishpoon entitled “Drawing is a way of seeing what you’re thinking about.”

Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962–2010 is co-organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and The Drawing Center.

Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962–2010 is made possible, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major support for the exhibition and accompanying catalogue is provided by the Matthew Marks Gallery, Dedalus Foundation, James Corcoran, Tracy Lew and Beth Rudin DeWoody. Additional funding is provided by Franklin Parrasch, Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth, and Sara Szold.

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