Robert Arneson

Robert Arneson

Robert Carston Arneson (1930-1992) was an American sculptor and professor of ceramics in the Art department at UC Davis for four decades.

Career

Arneson was born in Benicia, California, then a small blue-collar town. He graduated from Benicia High School and spent much of his early life as a cartoonist for a local paper. Arneson studied art education in Oakland, California and went on to receive an MFA in 1958.

Starting in the 1960s, Arneson and several other California artists began to abandon the traditional manufacture of functional items in favor of using everyday objects to make confrontational statements. The new movement was dubbed " Funk Art," and Arneson is considered the "father of the ceramic Funk movement."

Arneson used common objects in his work, which included both ceramic sculptures and drawings. He appeared in many of his own pieces — as a chef, a man picking his nose, a jean-jacketed hipster in sunglasses.

Even his [http://eggheads.ucdavis.edu Eggheads] bear a self-resemblance. Among the last works Arneson completed before his death, the last of the Eggheads were installed on campus at UC Davis in 1994. The controversial pieces continue to serve as a source of interest and discussion on the campus, even inspiring a [http://eggheadblog.ucdavis.edu campus blog] by the same name.

One of Arneson's most famous and controversial works is a bust of George Moscone, the mayor of San Francisco who was assassinated in 1978. Inscribed on the pedestal of the bust are words representing events in Moscone's life, including his assassination: the words "Bang Bang Bang Bang" and "Harvey Milk Too!" are visible in on the front of the pedestal.

Arneson died after a long battle with cancer.

In collections around the world

Arneson's fame is far-reaching, and his works can be found in public and private collections around the world, including the Chicago Art Institute, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Kyoto, Japan), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City) and the U.S. Embassy in Yeravan, Armenia.

The [http://nelsongallery.ucdavis.edu/ Nelson Gallery] at UC Davis, where Arneson was a faculty member, owns 70 of the artist's works, including The Palace at 9 a.m., which is currently on display in the gallery. The 70-square-foot earthenware sculpture, a depiction of his former Davis residence, is considered among his most famous sculptures. Several of his etchings and lithographs also are on display in the library.

Gallery

Sources

* [http://hirshhorn.si.edu/education/modern/modern2.html Hirschhorn Museum and Scultpure Garden]
* [http://eggheads.ucdavis.edu/ Robert Arneson's Eggheads]
* [http://eggheadblog.ucdavis.edu Egghead Blog]

External links

* [http://verisimilitudo.com/arneson/ A tribute to Robert Carston Arneson]


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