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ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center receives major funding to organize Kurt Weiser retrospective and book

Kurt Weiser
Continental Drift, 2005
Cast porcelain, china print, bronze stand

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

December 14, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. - The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center (CRC) announced it has received a $169,000 grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to organize a retrospective exhibition and book about Kurt Weiser - the world-renowned contemporary ceramist and Arizona State University Regents' professor.

The grant is a major accomplishment for the museum since it provides comprehensive support for the entire project, a rarity in the field of contemporary crafts.

Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser,to be organized by Curator of Ceramics Peter Held, will survey Weiser's work from the 1970s to the present, offering a full view of his stylistic development. The exhibition will include 45 ceramic objects drawn from the CRC permanent collection, the artist's holdings, and private and public collections nationwide.

"The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center is honored to receive this award, recognizing Kurt Weiser's extraordinary talents in the ceramic arts," said Held. "The upcoming exhibition and publication will highlight his technical virtuosity and creative vision that spans 30 years of artistic excellence."

The exhibition will begin a two-year national tour to 10 museums in May, 2007. The ASU Art Museum will host the exhibition at the close of the tour in March, 2009, coinciding with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts annual conference in Phoenix.

Held also is developing a color hardbound catalogue that will include an interview with Weiser and essays about his work by award-winning arts writer Edward Lebow and renowned ceramics scholar and gallery owner Garth Clark. The ASU Art Museum will publish the book and the University of Washington Press, Seattle, will handle national and international distribution, coinciding with the exhibition. Both entities collaborated on the recent publication Between Clouds of Memory: Akio Takamori, A Mid-Career Survey, which the Seattle Post Intelligencer named one of its "critics best picks for art lovers."

Weiser has earned numerous awards for his ceramics, including two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowships, an Asian Cultural Council Grant and artist fellowships from the Montana State Arts Council and Arizona Commission on the Arts. In 2003 he received the Aileen Osborn Webb Award from the American Craft Council, the highest distinction to recognize artistry, service and leadership in the craft field.

While garnering an international reputation as a skilled potter, master draftsman, accomplished painter and visionary, Weiser continues teaching ceramics to students who have developed their own careers with distinction.

Born in Lansing, Michigan in 1950, Weiser studied ceramics under the tutelage of Ken Ferguson at the Kansas City Art Institute where he received his Bachelor's of Fine Arts. He earned a Master's of Fine Arts at the University of Michigan in 1976. He was director of the famed Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana from 1979 until 1988. In 1989, Weiser came to Arizona State University to teach in the Herberger College of Fine Arts ceramics program, currently ranked 14 th in the country.

Weiser's work is housed in many museums nationally and internationally including the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art and Institute of Ceramics, Shigaraki, Japan; Helsinki Museum of Applied Arts, Finland; and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His work has been featured in hundreds of books, exhibition catalogues and magazine articles. Since 1982 he has exhibited extensively with the Garth Clark Gallery in New York and the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.

The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center is a division of the Herberger College of Fine Arts and is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10 th Street in Tempe. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call (480) 965-2787 or visit the museum online at

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay