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Stephanie Barron

senior curator and head of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Dec 9


Over the past three years organizing Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective for LACMA I’ve thought a great deal about the intersection between architecture and sculpture.The question of presentation and architectural design was quintessential, and I turned to Price’s longtime friend and admirer, architect Frank O. Gehry, to design the show, which allowed me a window through which to observe this intersection.

The work of a number of artists provoke a compelling examination of the intersection and boundaries between architecture and sculpture. Whether it is Richard Serra’s large, undulating ribbons of steel or the intimate, organic, ceramic sculptures of Ken Price, these convergences invite serious considerations about their relationships to architectural forms.

What is it that intrigues an architect about the work of a sculptor and what is it about architectural forms that engage a sculptor’s practice?


Stephanie Barron

senior curator and head of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Architect Frank Gehry cites Price as a major influence, writing in his appreciation in the show’s catalogue, “From the beginning I thought about the forms of his cups and sculptures. They were like buildings. There is one cup that has a little twisted piece on the top. When I look at the California Aerospace Museum that I designed in the early 1980s, with the airplane coming out of the building, and then look at the cup, I think the similarity of form was totally unconscious. Now I think a lot of architects must have been looking at those cups. It’s either accidental or the relationships are amazing.”

Looking at Price’s sculpture but seeing them as an architectural jumping off point made me reexamine the works with fresh eyes. Hearing within a few weeks of the exhibition’s opening that The Glass House would present Price’s Doola (2011) as their first installment of Night (1947 – 2015), a sculpture-in-residence program in which a series of works by contemporary artists are placed on a coffee table on which a Giacometti used to sit, further validated this direction of questioning. I remember fondly my early visit to The Glass House on a beautiful weekend in 1974 when Philip Johnson hosted a party to celebrate its twenty-fifth birthday. Philip’s partner David Whitney was a passionate collector of Price’s work so it is extremely fitting I think to have one of Price’s recent sculptures installed in the home.

Sunday, December 9 at 8:18pm

Sculptors are intrigued with the work of architects because of the structural underpinnings in their work. Architects admire sculptors for their gestural freedom. Sculptors and architects both have plastic possibilities and work with solids and voids, space and light. The sculptor is also interested in architecture because it is a collaborative art while theirs is more solitary. Function is the main difference, form is their common preoccupation.

Tuesday, December 11 at 11:50am

Well one might say or see architecture, I mean the wall the floor or for that matter a table top – the plane, as a given construct that sculptures reacts or acquiesces to. Not unlike the page in drawing. It is a basic cultural construct – the natural world is not perpendicular. I actually think artist’s who project thought in three dimensions really struggle with this idea. I’m talking about the nature of architecture not style.

Ok so you want to do something you have to have to differentiate, collapse or expand space. Architecture is the context.

I would go so far as to say that a tabletop or floor is something that sort of inhibits the effect of gravity – props stuff up. It affects the nature of form since it conditions or mollifies the effect of gravity. The clay would drop on the ground.

Wednesday, December 19 at 7:19am

emily leibin ko

Emily Leibin Ko

Communications Manager, The Glass House / Designer

In addition to the work of artist Ken Price that was on view at The Glass House this season, this question also brings to mind Frank Stella: Scarlatti Kirkpatrick, an exhibition of recent work by artist Frank Stella that was on view in Da Monsta.

Da Monsta is one of 14 architectural structures at The Glass House site, it was designed by Philip Johnson and inspired by the work of his friend, Frank Stella. In the film Diary of an Eccentric Architect Johnson called the building a “magnificent piece of sculpture that you can walk in.”

I really enjoyed experiencing Stella’s works in such a dynamic space where architecture and sculpture interact.

Wednesday, December 19 at 9:57am

Could some of the intrigue from architects be due to the plasticity of material? Two architects that I know have an affinity for the intimacy of small scale sculpture, and close relationships with artists. Architect Frederick Fisher told me, when he designed a gallery space, that he was interested in the large volume of space as a container of smaller sculptural forms. His knowledge of individual sculptors led him to design a series of appropriately scaled modular boxes within a larger building. This intersection of architecture and art was specific to the ceramic sculptors’ work.

Frank Gehry has a long history with ceramic sculpture, too. From his early encounters with Glen Lukens at USC, to his recent design of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art retrospective for Ken Price, Gehry has maintained an interest in the scale and tactile intimacy of forms made in clay. Gerhy has collected work Ken Price and George Ohr. He has been friends with ceramic artists Peter Voulkos, John Mason, and Billy Al Bengston for decades. He was the architect for the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi, a museum which holds a collection of pottery by George Ohr.

Saturday, December 22 at 6:16pm


Selected list of words appearing in this and other conversations.