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The Direction of Sculptural Ceramics in Architecture by Stan Bitters

Stan Bitters, the legendary master of ceramic murals, shares his 65-year-long experience working on ceramic sculpture and his motivation to interject art into architecture. A short film follows.

$25 (1.5 hrs)

Category: Film, Presentation, Talk, Annenberg Theater

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When Stan Bitters started his career 65 years ago, he thought ceramics was about teacups and saucers. Today he is the last of the ceramic abstract expressionists who studied under and consequently trace their artistic lineage back to Peter Voulkos in the ‘50s. About his own work, Bitters says that “the energy of Voulkos, the controlled output of John Mason, and the adoption of color of Paul Soldner has led me to creating my own voice in ceramics.”

Since 1958 when he was given 20 tons of clay to “play around with,” Bitters’ journey in ceramics has been prolific to say the least. Through it all, he has always remained steadfast in integrating ceramic sculpture and architecture.

This has led to creating works now rooted in the history of California design, such as ceramic tile screen, slab fountain, ceramic mural, not to mention garden elements like the thumb pot, bird house, and mushroom table and stools. These are works that have gained him popularity among midcentury collectors today.

It is his large-scale work, however, that has set him apart from Voulkos and other pioneers of the form. Confronting specific design problems of space has led him to many challenging opportunities such as the 30-foot ceramic towers at Westfield Mall in Santa Monica mall to the imposing ceramic wall murals at Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and Brooklyn. In terms of vastness, there is probably no other ceramic artist that can come close.

Our lives are richer when our environment is enriched. It is this simple principle that guides Bitters’ art. It is astonishing how his initial start of 20-tons-of-clay-to-play-around-with has developed into a concept that has bypassed the common understanding of ceramics as teacups and saucers thrown on a potter’s wheel.

Immediately following Mr. Bitters' presentation will be a newly updated short documentary, Stan Bitters Modern Primitive, directed by Francesca Di Amico and Claudia Unger, Produced by MinxFilms (15 min.)
View the documentary trailer here


Things to Know
This event is for 12 and older.
The entrance to the Annenberg Theater is located behind the Annenberg Theater Box Office, adjacent to the Palm Springs Art Museum's North Parking Lot.
Ample free public parking is available in the multi-level public garage across from the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Handicap parking is available.

This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.

Event Check-in Location
Annenberg Theater
Palm Springs Art Museum
101 N Museum Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262
View Map


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Stan Bitters – Courtesy MinxFilms.

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