This exhibition presents work by ceramicist, performance artist, and educator, Roberto Lugo. A master of ceramics, Lugo creates vessels that reference traditional European and Asian decorative arts, blended with iconography from Afro-Latino heritage and Hip Hop culture. His surface treatment is a mixture of traditional design, graffiti, and portraiture focusing on representation of iconic people of color from contemporary culture and history.
The centerpiece of this exhibition is a large scale vessel Lugo designed and painted during his residency at GFS over the winter of 2022 titled Put Yourself in the Picture. Created in partnership with The Seward Johnson Atelier and the Digital Atelier, this work presented Lugo with a new avenue of working, on a scale not easily achievable with clay, presenting the opportunity for the artist to expand his practice in new ways. While completing this large work, Lugo also converted space in this building into a ceramics studio, and he created and fired on site a series of large-scale ceramic vessels which are on display in this exhibition.
Lugo has said that “It takes a village to make a potter.” On the Museum Mezzanine Lugo has curated a companion exhibition of works by his mentors and mentees, those who recognized his talents and offered support as he was finding his way. Lugo has paid that forward through his mentorship of students at Tyler School of Art where he teaches ceramics, and through offering mentorship outside the classroom through his Philadelphia studio and endless support of the ceramic community at large.
Expanding on the belief that art is for everyone, the gallery also features a maker space for drop-in engagement allowing visitors, of any skill level, an opportunity to nurture their inner artist and to get their hands in some clay. This space offers an open invitation to become part of village as you explore the joy of making.
Roberto Lugo: The Village Potter supports Grounds For Sculpture’s curatorial strategy, which uses the key components of curatorial work, collections and exhibitions building, to be a catalyst for transformation across the organization, addressing issues relevant to inclusivity, access, and equity while continuing to support the mission. This exhibition continues a commitment to present the works of contemporary sculptors, and we believe that through sharing the work of contemporary artists, we can reflect the greater world, challenge perceptions, and inspire.
Roberto Lugo holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Penn State. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, among many others. Lugo is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently including a 2019 Pew Fellowship, a Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize, and a US Artist Award. His work is found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Brooklyn Museum. His solo exhibition at the Walters Museum of Art in Baltimore received international acclaim, earning a spot in Hyperallergic’s “Top 20 exhibitions of 2018″.
Co-curated by Gary Garrido Schneider, Executive Director and Faith McClellan, Director of Collections and Exhibitions.
Roberto Lugo: The Village Potter is supported by lead sponsor Bank of America, with major support from the Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, The Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation, the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel & Tourism, and Marjorie Ogilvie and Miller Parker. Additional generous exhibition support by the Brooke Barrie Art Fund, Judith Burgis, Drs. Umesh and Sunanda Gaur, Holman, NRG, Princetel, PSE&G, and Barbara Eberlein and Jerry Wind. Support is provided in part by the Atlantic Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
1. Roberto Lugo, Put Yourself in the Picture, 2022, mixed media, 240 x 144 x 324 inches, Courtesy of the Artist; Roberto Lugo, SAMO, 2022, ceramic, 46 x 18 x 18 inches, Courtesy of the Artist, photo: David Michael Howarth Photography; 2. Roberto Lugo, Put Yourself in the Picture, 2022, mixed media, 240 x 144 x 324 inches, Courtesy of the Artist, photo: David Michael Howarth Photography; 3. Roberto Lugo, One Love, 2022, glazed ceramic, 31 x 18 x 18 inches, Courtesy of the Artist, photo: Ken Ek; 4. Roberto Lugo, Old Dirty Vase, 2022, glazed ceramic, 38 x 20 x 20 inches, Courtesy of the Artist, photo: Ken Ek