When you look at the Pluto Ware some people only see pollution, darkness, and grim and then other people—like myself—see a kind of strange dark beauty.-Happy Price
I make sensual work. The use of my work is to lead to an experience that makes life more interesting or enjoyable, like listening to music, or reading poetry.[…] I’m trying to get feeling into my work, like joy. Sometimes I want to have an ominous quality, so that it has an edge, and humor in the form, too, if possible.-Ken Price
New York–Ken Price: Pluto Ware at Matthew Marks Gallery features 24 ceramics and works on paper made between 1993 and 1996. Price called these works Pluto Ware, a pun on the word pollution. The factories spewing dark clouds and the ominous oil slicks in brilliantly colored landscapes in the Pluto Ware reflect Price’s unique aesthetic while also raising awareness of the effect of industry on the American landscape.
As early as 1964 John Coplans wrote that Price’s work “invokes to a remarkable degree a strange interplay between the joyful and the ominous” and praises Price’s “physically brilliant” use of color as “dark, murky, very elemental and primordial.”
The exhibition, the first public outing for Pluto, emphasizes that as much as we feel that we know the work of Ken Price, there are still facets to his art that have not been shown or fully explored. We can only hope that Mark’s next reveal is going to be a comprehensive survey of Price’s erotic and full-frontal XXX wares.