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Robert Arneson in the studio, 1981.

We are pleased to share our video series reflecting on Robert Arneson's life and legacy.

Just over thirty years after his passing, we had the opportunity to sit down with those who knew him well as well in addition to those who are deeply familiar with his work on a scholarly level. The conversations that ensued were pervasive, engaging, and illuminating. Click through the slideshow below to watch the complete series, with each video speaking to a different aspect of Bob's personal and professional life and the multifaceted, enduring legacy he leaves behind.

Robert Arneson in the studio, 1981.

Robert Arneson in his Benicia studio, 1981.

Photo: J Martin. Image courtesy the George Adams Gallery Archives.

We are pleased to share Parsing the Self, a series of video shorts reflecting on Robert Arneson's life and legacy.

In conjunction with our exhibition, Astonishing Possibilities of Self-Expression, we invited curators, writers and artists who either knew Arneson well or have spent time with his work to speak with us about its lasting impact. The resulting video series provides an insightful look at the complexity in his breadth of subjects, his rigorous and at times obsessive approach, his outsized influence on the evolution of contemporary ceramics and the continuing relevance of his work today.

PART I: In Search of a Significant Subject Matter

With thanks to the following individuals who contributed to this project:

Glenn Adamson is a curator and writer who has worked extensively on projects around contemporary craft; he previously held the position of Director at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

Kathy Butterly is an artist based in New York, known for her detailed and complex mediations of traditional ceramic forms; she received her MFA from UC Davis under Arneson.

Jonathan Fineberg is an art historian and writer who has written extensively on Robert Arneson’s work, including the 2013 monograph, A Troublesome Subject.

Gary Garrels is an art historian and curator, until recently Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where he oversaw the acquisition of many of the museum’s major works by Arneson and organized an exhibition of Arneson’s self-portraits in 1997.

Salvador Jiménez-Flores is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago where he is currently a faculty member at the Art Institute of Chicago, teaching ceramics.

Garth Johnson is a writer and educator and currently the Paul Philip and Sharon Sullivan Curator of Ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. Prior to the Everson, Johnson held the same position at the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center in Tempe, AZ.

Art Schade is an artist and teacher based in the Bay Area, he studied under Robert Arneson at UC Davis in the late 60s.

Sandra Shannonhouse is an artist and trustee of the Artists Legacy Foundation in Oakland, CA, as well as of the Arneson Archive, dedicated to preserving the legacy of her late husband, Robert Arneson.

Richard Shaw is an artist based in the Bay Area, who also taught at UC Berkeley for over thirty years; he received his MFA from UC Davis, where he studied under Arneson.

Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy is an independent curator and writer with a particular interest in ceramics, her most recent curatorial project is Funk Me Too! Humor and Irreverence in Ceramic Sculpture at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, where she previously held the position of curator.