David Kordansky Gallery announced the representation of The Estate of Betty Woodman

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David Kordansky Gallery announced the representation of The Estate of Betty Woodman
Portrait of Betty Woodman: © Barbara Bordnick.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- David Kordansky Gallery announced the representation of the estate of Betty Woodman, which is stewarded by the Woodman Family Foundation. This new chapter in the gallery’s relationship with Woodman and her work, which began in 2014, launches with a major solo exhibition at its New York location that will open on October 28, 2022.

Betty Woodman (1930–2018) is recognized not only as one of the most important artists to work in ceramics—and one of those most responsible for its inclusion in contemporary art historical discourse—but also as an iconoclastic figure whose advances in several mediums made her a major voice in postwar American art. She transformed the functional history of clay into a point of departure, engaging in bold formal experiments in which she acknowledged the central role of the vessel even as she deconstructed, reassembled, and expanded upon it. Woodman employed the surfaces of her objects, whose shapes themselves often hinted at figuration, as ceramic canvases, inscribing them with glazed images and patterns of all kinds. Often, these included depictions of vessels that generated complex spatial and perspectival effects.

Both before and since her death, Woodman has been cited by artists from a wide range of disciplines as a key influence, one who brought together an unabashed love of beauty with a nuanced understanding of art’s role in culture at large as well as in the intimacy of domestic spaces. Woodman’s work reveals overlooked intersections between gender, modernism, function, and architecture, making it a prescient example of a practice that has as much to say about formalism as it does about the ways that people create and inhabit their environments. During much of her career, Woodman divided her time between New York, Colorado, and Italy, and her art reflected a similarly varied and international range of influences and inspirations, from the ancient to the contemporary. Among other areas of exploration, Woodman addressed the human form, the evolution of the vessel, the painterly possibilities of glaze, drawing and printmaking, installation, outdoor sculpture, and multimedia collaboration.

Betty Woodman was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, raised in Newton, Massachusetts, and studied ceramics at The School for American Craftsmen in Alfred, New York from 1948 to 1950. She was the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide during her lifetime, including a 2006 retrospective at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York—the first time the museum dedicated a survey to a living female artist. Other solo shows have been presented at K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2018); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2016); Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2015); Gardiner Museum, Toronto (2011); American Academy in Rome (2010); Palazzo Pitti, Giardino di Boboli, Florence, Italy (2009); Denver Art Museum (2006); and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996). Recent group exhibitions include The Flames: The Art of Ceramics, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (2021); Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2019); and Liverpool Biennial, England (2016). Woodman’s work is in numerous permanent collections worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, Portugal; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and World Ceramic Center, Incheon, Korea. Woodman lived and worked in Boulder, Colorado; Antella, Italy; and New York.

"Betty Woodman changed the history of American art. She revolutionized the use of ceramics, making connections to painting and sculpture that shed light on each discipline separately, while showing how deeply they are intertwined. Woodman was an aesthetic warrior who saw formal possibilities everywhere, and whose feminist critiques of assumptions about genres and materials changed my view of art forever. Like many, I was completely taken by her magical ability to play volumetric space against planar representations of form, and I have been a fervent admirer and collector of her work for as long as I have been a gallerist. It is an honor to collaborate with the Woodman Family Foundation to bring new audiences and scholarship to the entire span of her pioneering career, from its early references to Etruscan pottery to its later flourishings in large-scale projects where she went up against the heroic ambitions of Matisse and Picasso in her own inimitable way."––David Kordansky

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