American Minstrels from the set of four dinner plates, "American Gothicware"

American Minstrels from the set of four dinner plates, "American Gothicware"


Howard Kottler

American, 1930-1989

Howard Kottler taught ceramics for twenty-five years at the University of Washington, where his sharp use of satire, camp aesthetics, and subversively gender-coded imagery helped define the school as a hotbed of innovation in the medium. His series of iconoclastic decal plates—made with commercial dinnerware and often referencing icons of art history—wryly insert his ironic social commentary and his own queer identity into seemingly mundane homeware. In American Gothicware, Kottler co-opts the motif of the stern pioneer settlers from Grant Wood’s celebrated painting American Gothic, transforming them alternately into a same-sex couple, blank vessels for the idyllic American pastureland, or the conservative-coded “great silent majority” Richard Nixon famously called on for support in 1969.
Porcelain with decal
Diam.: 10 1/4 x 1 1/8 in. (26 x 2.9cm)
Gift of the Howard Kottler Testamentary Trust
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Documents International: Reflections in the Mirror: A World of Identity, April 23, 1998 - June 20, 1999

Tacoma, Washington, Tacoma Art Museum, Look Alikes: The Decal Plates of Howard Kottler, September 22, 2004 - January 31, 2006.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Poke in the Eye: Art of the West Coast Counterculture, June 21 - September 2, 2024.

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