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Michael Lucero

American, b. 1953



3 x 25.1 x 25.1 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

The syncretic works of Michael Lucero combine the painterly aesthetics of the twentieth century with vessel forms associated with various periods. In this large anthropomorphic platter, the colorful surface decoration—with elements resembling a hat, nose, mouth, eyes, and ears—evokes a Picassoesque face. The dreaminess of the abstract facial expression is brought down to earth by the inclusion of a modern bar code. While most bar codes are hidden on the back of mass-produced objects, Lucero tattoos one on the face of the platter as a salient reminder of issues surrounding artistic labor, cultural appropriation, commerce, and ownership in the art world.

Born in Tracy, California, in 1953, Lucero studied at Humboldt State University in Arcata before earning his MFA at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1978. The aesthetic influences on Lucero’s ceramics, however, can be traced far beyond his native West Coast. His imagery is often inspired by Native American pottery of the Southwest, as well as pre-Columbian and Greco-Roman examples. Lucero moved to New York in the late 1970s, where he continues to create semifigurative sculptures through working in series.

Sara Morris

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