Metro Weekly

Peter Voulkos’ “The Breakthrough Years” at Renwick Gallery

Voulkos defied mid-century craft dicta to reinvent his medium

Peter Voulkos, Rocking Pot, 1956 – Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Renwick Gallery offers the first exhibition to focus on the early career of Peter Voulkos, from 1953 to 1968, when the potter’s radical methods and ideas opened up the possibilities for ceramics in ways that are still being felt today.

One of the most influential ceramicists of the 20th century, Voulkos defied mid-century craft dicta to reinvent his medium, combining wheel-throwing with slab-building, traditional glazes with epoxy paint, figuration with abstraction and building large-scale ceramic structures with complex internal engineering.

On display through Aug. 20. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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