|GEORGE E OHR||FOLDED FORMS OF GEORGE E OHR, NOMAD ST MORITZ|
|1857-1918 (USA)||06.02.20 - 09.02.20|
In the late 1800s, self-taught potter GEORGE E OHR revolutionised pottery.
From his home in coastal Mississippi, this eldest son of Alsatian immigrants developed an all-consuming practice and persona. OHR’s clay pots were precise and prolific. Their radical shapes and modern glazes marked an important shift in three-dimensional vessel making. As a body of work, they challenged not only the art establishment, but the cultural conventions of their day.
Yet OHR’s proto-abstract experiments proved too unpalatable for local taste. Throughout his lifetime, the entrepreneurial Mad Potter of Biloxi was ignored and his legacy unrecorded in the history of American art.
That changed seventy years later when the oeuvre was rediscovered by his descendants. Heralded as an unsung pioneer of modernist making, OHR was soon being collected and championed by David Whitney, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. The latter was so enamored of the delicacy of OHR’s material form, he repeatedly depicted the work in his paintings.
Posthumously embraced by his peers, OHR and his pots now found their place in the Western canon. They reached a wide audience through the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum. Frank Gehry designed a museum in OHR’s hometown of Biloxi in Mississippi. More recently, over thirty works were exhibited as part of a contemporary installation at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh in 2013.