Exhibition on view from March 17-September 24
The Cincinnati Art Museum will present artist, educator and poet Roberto Lugo during a seven-month solo exhibition Roberto Lugo: Hi Def Archives, March 17 to Sept. 24, 2023.
Lugo is in residence at the Cincinnati Art Museum March 17-24 during which he will create contemporary pottery in conjunction with his finished works. The exhibition will present selections chosen by the artist from the museum’s collection as he examines intersections of community, place and identity in his practice and in Cincinnati’s Rookwood Pottery’s legacy.
Lugo (Puerto Rican-American, born in 1981) draws from his lived experience and deep knowledge of ceramic history to create works that elevate the stories and communities who have been overlooked in the historical record of art making. Lugo’s multicultural mashups often combine classic forms and patterns with elements of hip-hop.
“As a potter,” Lugo explains, “I aim to carry on the ceramic tradition in a manner that honors the culture and community I come from.”
Lugo was raised in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, an area marked by community vitality yet lack of opportunity to achieve upward economic mobility or access to artistic outlets. At the age of 25, he enrolled in his first pottery class.
Today, he leads the ceramic department at Temple University in Philadelphia, and his art resides in the collections of the most prestigious art institutions in the country, including the Cincinnati Art Museum. When he is not teaching or creating, Lugo returns to neighborhoods with a potter’s wheel emblazoned with the words, “This machine kills hate.” Taking his art to the street, he uses clay and his wheel to teach others how to throw pots, break down cultural and social biases and encourage the possibility that anyone can choose and achieve their dreams.
“We are thrilled to welcome artist Roberto Lugo to Cincinnati,” said exhibition curator Amy Miller Dehan. “In his highly skilled practice and with his vibrant works of art, Lugo aspires to create universal access to the arts; to document and include those who have traditionally been excluded; and to bring hope, purpose and a sense of belonging to all — goals that guide the museum’s own mission to inspire people and connect Cincinnati communities.”
The exhibition will be on view in the Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery and the Manuel and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery (Galleries 124 and 125) across from the Terrace Café. No tickets are required. General admission to the museum is also free. Photography is encouraged, but no flash is permitted. On social media, use the hashtag #RobertoLugo.
The exhibition was featured prominently as part of the National Council on Education for the Arts (NCECA) conference in Cincinnati between March 15 and 18.
Upcoming, related events: Roberto Lugo at the Cincinnati Art Museum, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, March 17–24, Gallery 125 Lugo will work in residency at the museum, creating ceramics in a gallery adjacent to the display of his finished works. (Schedule subject to change.)
Members Opening and NCECA Open House, 5–9 p.m., Thursday, March 16, Cincinnati Art Museum members and National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference attendees are invited to see Lugo creating work in the galleries and enjoy light bites and a cash bar in the Fountain Room (Gallery 126). Free for museum members and NCECA guests. Reservations are not required.
Art After Dark, 5–9 p.m., Friday, March 24, Cincinnati Art Museum. This month’s event will celebrate the exhibition and feature Lugo, live music, food and drink for purchase. Art After Dark is free to attend. All ages welcome. Reservations are not required.
CAM Kids Day: Hip Hop Hooray!, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Saturday, April 1, Cincinnati Art Museum
Celebrate the exhibition with a day filled with fun and energy for the whole family. Enjoy scavenger hunts, preschool and docent-led activities, family-friendly performances and art-making activities throughout the day. Free. Reservations are not required.
Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum is free. Go to cincinnatiartmusem.org for more information.