Eli Diner and Alex Kitnick discuss the sculptures of Ken Price, the subject of a new retrospective exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Price’s Mountain Balls (2006), for example, or his Altoon(2005), are also kinds of hybrid fruits: sweet, fatty, full of cartilage and no bone. (Though we’re not sure we’d want to call them pagodas, there are other Price works that would fit the bill.) If you want to get into differences though, the differences are color, surface, and the stuff from which Price’s works are made. Most of his sculptures are ceramic, their surfaces are often pocked (though they’re simultaneously smooth, smooth, smooth), and his colors are always hot, hot, hot: reds, pinks, yellows, and turquoise blues fusing and diffusing into a kind of psychedelic psoriasis. Price started making his work at the end of the 1950s but it was in the early 1960s, the moment of Pop Art, when he really hit his stride. Despite their hot colors and what some have called their Finish Fetish, however, Price’s work isn’t that. What we think it is, in fact, is “Pop Arp”: a heightening, burnishing, eroticizing, and occasional sublimation of the modern.