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Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art


Richard Notkin We Stumble On... New and Recent Artwork

Exhibition Dates September 6th- October 19th, 2019



SHERRY LEEDY CONTEMPORARY ART 2004 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, MO 64108 816.221.2626 Catalog design by Allison King Photo Credit E.G. Schempf Cover Image In Expectactions of a Different Result 2.

RICHARD NOTKIN We Stumble On... New and Recent Artwork

Richard Notkin’s teapots, ceramic sculptures and tile murals are visual explorations into social and political commentary. Through the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, when large-scale abstract expressionist vessels and gestural ceramic sculptures were the rage in contemporary American ceramics, Notkin instead worked with a tightly controlled, high degree of craftsmanship and attention to detail. He is perhaps most known for his series of unglazed stoneware teapots, inspired by the remarkable Yixing wares of China (circa 1500 AD to the present), but consciously maintaining a separate cultural identity, “reflecting the current dilemmas of our contemporary human civilization”. For over four decades, his work has been exhibited internationally, and is in more than 70 public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. Notkin’s awards include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. In 2008, Notkin was elected a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and awarded a USA Hoi Fellowship by the United States Artists Foundation. He is also the recipient of the Meloy Stevenson Award from the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT, and the Honorary Membership Award from NCECA, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, in 2014.


Artist Statement: Nearly twenty years ago, when we were about to enter a new millennium, I penned the following words as an artist statement for my traveling exhibition, “Passages,” in hopes that the trajectory of human civilization would soon find saner directions. Since it has not, this statement — like my creative pursuits — has remained steadfast, with only a few minor revisions, and I continue to present it, as follows: We have stumbled into the 21st Century with the advanced technologies of “Star Wars” and the emotional maturity of cavemen. The problems of human civilization are far too complex to be solved by means of explosive devices. If we can’t find more creative solutions to solving worldwide social and political problems than sending young men and women to shred and incinerate one another’s flesh with weapons of ever increasing efficiency, we will not survive to celebrate the passage into the 22nd century. And to make a dangerous situation worse, our country and too many of our fragile planet’s nations are now in the hands of ego-driven megalomaniacs, ideological thugs and fundamentalist tyrants who are fumbling the planet towards World War III. Richard Notkin 2019


In Expectations of a Different Result, 2019 Ceramic, glazes 23” x 14” x 2.5”




We Stumble On, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 14.25” x 31.5” x 2.5”





Echoes of a Million Unheard Screams: Collateral Damage, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 26” x 26” x 3.5”

The Presistence of Folly, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 23” x 14” x 2.5”





Echoes of a Million Unheard Screams: Guernica #2, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 20” x 20” x 3.5”

Once More Into the Breach, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 26” x 14.25” x 3”





Echoes of a Million Unheard Screams: Guernica #1, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 20” x 20” x 3.5”



Another Hard Rain (Hill Jar Series), 2016 Stoneware, glaze 13.5” x 11.5” x 11.5”







The Consent of Silence (Hill Jar Series), 2016 Stoneware, glaze 13.75” x 10” x 10”

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Hill Jar Series), 2016 Stoneware, glaze 15” x 11.75” x 11.75”




Heart Teapot: Petrol Hostage (Yixing Series), 2013 Stoneware 6.5” x 11.25” x 5.75”




Heart Teapot: Internal Combustion Metamorphosis (Yixing Series), 2013 Stoneware, glaze 6.5” x 12.5” x 5”



Trumpolini Series The current Trumpolini Series was inspired by the Futurist sculpture of Renato Giuseppe Bertelli (1890-1974), Profilo Continuo del Mussolini. Created in 1933, Bertelli’s piece was made in several sizes and glazed in various colors. It was meant as a tribute to the Fascist dictator, paying tribute to his self-proclaimed technical genius, and his falsely promoted omnipotence. The 360 degree spinning of Mussolini’s profile was meant to illustrate that he was able to see in all directions. I find curious parallels in the cult-like rise of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and the situation we find ourselves embroiled in today in our own nation. As a young student in the early 1950’s, I was taught by Holocaust survivors in my family’s synagogue to always be aware, alert and, most of all, active. For over five decades, my art has been my form of activism, my megaphone, my soapbox, if you will. As such, I will let the pieces — and their titles — speak for themselves.

Richard Notkin 2019



Profilo Continuo del Trumpolini (Bronze glaze), 2019 Ceramic, glaze 11” x 11” x 11”



Profilo Continuo del Trumpolini (Gold Leaf), 2019 Ceramic, glaze, gold leaf 8” x 8” x 8”



Profilo Continuo del Trumpolini (Black glaze), 2019 Ceramic, glaze 11” x 11” x 11”

Grab Em’ by the Pussy #2, 2019 Ceramic, glaze, gold leaf 11.25” x 5.25” x 2.25” Collaboration with Mallory Wetherell



Grab Em’ by the Pussy #1, 2019 Ceramic, glaze, gold leaf 11.25” x 5.25” x 2.25” Collaboration with Mallory Wetherell



Covfefe II, 2019 Ceramic, glaze, marble 8” x 5.25” x 5.25”



A Very Stable Genius, 2019 Ceramic, glaze 26.75” x 8.25” x 8.25”



This is What You Were Born For (after Goya), 2006 Terra cotta, wood 4.25” x 15.5” x 1.75” 4/10 edition



You Shall Know Them by Their Fruits, 2010 Terra Cotta, wood 4.25” x 17” x 1.75” 6/10 edition

It Is No Use Shouting (after Goya), 2007 Copper plate etching 2/10 edition 21” x 17”


Top: WMD--Product of USA, 2007 Copper plate etching 1/10 edition 8” x 19.25”


Bottom: Por Que? (after Goya) , 2007 Copper plate etching 1/10 edition 8” x 19.25”

The Gift, 2007 Copper plate etching 1/10 edition 13.5” x 15.25”



All Nations Have Their Moment of Foolishness, 2007 Copper plate etching 4/10 edition 13.5� x 15.25�


Acknowledgments: The support and assistance from many individuals were essential in bringing the works in this exhibition to completion. I am grateful to Sherry Leedy, who trusted me to fill her wonderful gallery with my art, and her assistant, Allison King, for her infinite patience. My marriage partner, Phoebe Toland, tolerated my many long hours and very late nights in the studio while keeping the home fires burning and helping to finish some of the work as the deadlines neared. Tip Toland, the phenomenal ceramic artist and my sister-in-law, helped with her expertise in gold leaf application. And my great and dedicated studio assistant, Geo Lastomirsky, spent many months and long long hours keeping me on track as we completed the numerous tasks involved with producing these works. Geo was there from the beginning, from the wet clay stages to the final firings, mounting of the tiles and packing and shipping. This show wouldn’t exist without Geo’s strong assistance. Also high on my list of gratitude is the Kansas City Art Institute. I entered as a freshman in the then revolutionary and new Foundations Program in 1966, and graduated with a BFA in Ceramics in December, 1970. It was a remarkable launching pad for what would become a very fulfilling life as an artist. And I still have a strong relationship with KCAI. I would like to thank Aldo Bacchetta, Director of Creative Technology at KCAI, who helped this computer-challenged geezer fabricate the original prototype models for the Trumpolini Series. And my longtime colleague and friend, Cary Esser, as Chair of the Ceramics Department, has maintained KCAI’s longstanding reputation as a strong program for education in the ceramic arts. I appreciate returning to Kansas City and being able to interact with the students in this remarkable program. Finally, I dedicate this exhibition to the memory of my little brother, Joseph Thomas Notkin (1956-2018). You left us too soon, Joey, and I will always love you.

Richard Notkin September, 2019


RICHARD NOTKIN Education: BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO, 1970 MFA, University of California, Davis, CA, 1973 Selected One-Person Exhibitions: 2019 2016 2011 2006 2003 2001 1999 1997 1996 1992 1990 1988 1987 1985 1981 1975

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO (September/October) Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, IL (also 2010, 2013) Belger Arts Center / Red Star Studio, Kansas City, MO Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg, FL (catalog) Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR Garth Clark Gallery, New York, NY (also 2000, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1991, 1988, 1987, 1985) Margo Jacobsen Gallery, Portland, OR “Passages” (A Ceramic Installation), Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT + traveling: Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, MT; (2000) Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT (catalog) University of Montana, Missoula, MT Byron Cohen/Lennie Berkowitz Gallery, Kansas City, MO Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (also 1990, 1988, 1984) “Strong Tea: Richard Notkin and the Yixing Tradition”, Seattle Art Museum, WA + traveling: University of Missouri-Kansas City; Honolulu Academy of Art; Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; The Newark Museum, NJ; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (catalog) Garth Clark Gallery, Kansas City, MO Lawrence Gallery, Portland, OR Esther Saks Gallery, Chicago, IL Traver Sutton Gallery, Seattle, WA Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR Allan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago, IL

Selected Public Collections: Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum, Seto, Japan Arizona State University Museum of Art, Tempe, AZ Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, NY Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo, Norway Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO Newark Museum of Art, NJ Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim, Norway Portland Art Museum, OR Seattle Art Museum, WA Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England Selected Grants, Fellowships and Honors: 2014 2008 2006 1991 1990 1988 1985 1976

Honorary Member, NCECA (National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts) USA Hoi Fellow, United States Artists, Los Angeles, CA Fellow of the American Craft Council, New York, NY Meloy Stevenson Award of Distinction, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT Jerry Metcalf Foundation, Helena, Montana - Artist Fellowship (also 1999) Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation - Fellowship John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation - Fellowship in Sculpture National Endowment for the Arts - Visual Artist Fellowship (also 1981, 1979) Oregon Arts Commission - Individual Artist Fellowship Western States Arts Foundation - Artist Fellowship

2004 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, MO 64108 816.221.2626