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Gustavo Pérez: Self Portrait in Black and White

November 10, 2018 – February 24, 2019

November 10, 2018 – February 24, 2019
VIP & Press Preview Thursday, November 09, 2018

San Francisco, CA. September 2018 – Opening on November 10, 2018, the Museum of Craft and Design will present Gustavo Pérez: Self Portrait in Black and White, an expansive installation by renowned ceramicist, Gustavo Pérez.

Gustavo Pérez: Self Portrait in Black and White is part of the museum’s Visible Transparency Project, which invites visitors to witness the behind-the-scenes exhibition installation. Pérez’s installation will take place during regular museum hours Tuesday, November 6th through Thursday, November 8th.

Describing Pérez’s career guest curator Mayer Shacter states, “If Mexico designated ‘National Living Treasures’, as Japan does, Gustavo Pérez would surely be at the top of the list, for he stands alone as the Mexican ceramic artist who is internationally celebrated and admired.“

Pérez’s recent and critically acclaimed installation, surveying forty years of work, at the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa in Mexico, featured more than 5,000 ceramic vessels assembled in grouped series to form an overall appearance of a city. Ceramic historian Garth Clark declared, the installation was “the most astonishing ceramic exhibition of the decade.” Gustavo Pérez: Self Portrait in Black and White at the Museum of Craft and Design, realized on a more modest scale, provides museum visitors an opportunity to experience a different iteration of Pérez’s creative stoneware and ceramics installation. Marking lines in Pérez’s creative development through the presentation of several different series of work, the installation makes evident where one creative cycle grows out of another; where the series contradict each other; where decisions were made.

Many ceramic artists emphasize either form or surface design in their creations. Distinctively, Pérez’s stoneware work integrates his fluid forms with innovative surface designs to create breathtaking beauty. His pieces combine elegance and precision with a relaxed freedom from convention, a combination difficult to achieve. Clark notes in the publication CFile, September 2017, “His range of manipulations is endless, but is not scattered. There is a cohesiveness to the artist’s perception of form, shape, volume and mass, and a central unifying syntax brings it all together into a wide but single stream.”

Through the presentation of multiple bodies of work, the relationships between the individual pieces become evident. Gustavo Pérez’s creative process is a mixture of theme development and intuition. The resulting installation is similar to a logbook, recording where the artist has been and where he is now in his relationship to his work with clay as an artistic medium.

“My work is about the capacity of my hands to make something. After forty-five years of being with clay,” Pérez says, “I still have the same feeling I had in the very beginning of my story. There is still so much to learn, to discover, and to create.”


Additional support for Gustavo Perez: Self Portrait in Black and White is provided by Consulate of Mexico in San Francisco.

Visible Transparency Project: Gustavo Pérez: Self Portrait in Black and White
November 6–November 8, 2018 | 11:00am – 6:00pm
Museum visitors are invited to watch the exhibition’s installation by the artist during regular museum hours.

VIP & Press Preview
November 09, 2018 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Opening Day Curator Walk-through:
Mayer Shacter in conversation with Gustavo Pérez
November 10, 2018 | 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Artist Bio
Gustavo Pérez grew up in Mexico City. Before he discovered his passion for clay, he studied engineering, mathematics, and philosophy, never feeling fully satisfied or engaged. His chance encounter with clay in 1971 felt to him like his soul’s homecoming, and he has been single-mindedly devoted to creating art as an independent artist ever since. He has maintained his studio near Xalapa in the state of Veracruz for more than thirty years, although he has lived for several years each in Japan, Holland, Hungary, Spain and the south of France. He has traveled widely to present workshops and lectures and to work as an artist-in-residence. His work is included in numerous museum collections and in many public and private collections worldwide.


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Media Contact: Wendy Norris, Norris Communications
(415) 307-3853 or


Above Image:
Gustavo Pérez, Self Portrait in Black and White, 2018, high fired glazed and unglazed ceramic. Photo courtesy of the artist.


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