Ceramics exhibition coincides with biennual fundraiser

The ASU Art Museum presents A Human Impulse: Figuration from the Diane and Sandy Besser Collection

Passionate collectors since 1964, Diane and Sandy Besser have amassed a major collection of ceramics that initially started with vessel forms and teapots. Later, their interest became more focused on figurative ceramic sculpture, an area they felt was being overlooked and under appreciated. The Bessers have collected both established and emerging artists – the works offer varying perspectives on the human condition, ranging from political commentary and psychological drama to humorous observations of daily life.

After Diane’s death, Sandy visited the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center. He found that his aspirations for the collection were matched by the museum's initiatives in increased public accessibility. Since 2003, Besser has donated more than 150 works, providing significant depth in figurative ceramic sculpture. 

A Human Impulse: Figuration from the Diane and Sandy Besser Collection provides a unique glimpse into the world of figurative ceramics and coincides with a major biennial event, Ceram A Rama, a gala fundraiser supporting the exhibition and educational programs of the award-winning ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center at Arizona State University. A Human Impulse highlights 65 works with an attitude.

“Give me work with an edge, work that says something. Leave me something to think about, something to remember the next day,” Besser states. “However, the most important ingredient is impact. Don’t show me posies or petunias.”

The ASU Art Museum published a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with an introduction by ceramics curator Peter Held and an essay by Kate Bonansinga, assistant professor of art at the University of Texas at El Paso and curator at its Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. The catalogue is available in the Museum Store for $35.

ASU Art Museum
Southeast corner of 10th Street and Mill Avenue, ASU Tempe campus

Jan. 26–April 27, 2008

Friday, Feb.1

Friday Conversations at ASU Art Museum with Peter Held, curator of ceramics, a gallery talk about the A Human Impulse exhibit.
8:30–10:30 p.m.
Public reception, A Human Impulse: Figuration from the Diane and Sandy Besser Collection, ASU Art Museum, in conjunction with the Ceram A Rama weekend.

Saturday, Feb. 23; 10–11:30am.
Figurative Ceramics Panel Discussion, Coor Hall Room #170, ASU Tempe campus Edward Lebow, Phoenix Art & Culture Public Art program director and arts writer, moderator. Panelists include collector Sandy Besser and artists Adrian Arleo and Sergei Isupov.


Public Contact

The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America, is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. The museum is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe and admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. To learn more about the museum, call 480.965.2787 or visitasuartmuseum.asu.edu.

Media Contact:
Peter Held
(480)727-8173 peter.held@asu.edu

John D. Spiak
(480)965-0497 jdspiak@mainex1.asu.edu