Alfred University News

Ed Lebow ‘76, to highlight work of William Underhill in 18th Perkins Lecture

Ed Lebow ’76, an award-winning arts writer, scholar, and lecturer, will deliver the 18th Perkins Lecture sponsored by the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum and titled “William Underhill: The Geometry of Beauty.” The lecture will take place on Thursday Nov. 17 at 4:30pm in Nevins Theater on the Alfred University campus and is free to all students, faculty, and University personnel as well as the public.

The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum established the Dorothy Wilson Perkins Ceramic History Lecture Series in 1998, thanks to a generous endowment gift to the Museum by Dr. Lyle Perkins (BFA Alfred '39; MFA Alfred '47) in memory of his wife, Dr. Dorothy Wilson Perkins (BFA Alfred '39).

 Lebow, a 1976 BFA graduate of Alfred University’s School of Art and Design, is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Critics Award. He is the principal author of the upcoming, 2023, book William Underhill: Casting A Legacy produced by the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum and published by Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany.

 Lebow has contributed art criticism, feature articles and essays to museum and gallery catalogues, and such publications as American Ceramics, American Craft, House & Garden, Industrial Design, Metalsmith, Phoenix New Times, Places, Studio Potter, Vogue, and On the Ground. He has written catalogue and book essays on ceramic artists Kenneth Ferguson, Chris Gustin, Karen Karnes, Jean-Pierre Larocque, Joan Miró, Ken Price, Akio Takamori, and Kurk Weiser.  In addition, from 1989 -1996 Lebow provided vision, planning, budgeting, and overall direction for the City of Phoenix’s award-winning Public Art Program, integrating art into architecture and infrastructure.

 Lebow writes the following about William Underhill, who taught sculpture at Alfred University from 1967 to 1997, and whose work is currently on display at the Alfred Ceramic Museum:

 “William Underhill was one of the great talents and enigmas of the modern American studio craft movement. He became an acclaimed master of lost-wax casting, pursuing the sculptural potential of bronze vessels with unrivaled persistence and virtuosity. He “molded and scratched the wax until the final bronze surface embodied all of the mystical connotations of a ritualistic object,” said Lee Nordness in his groundbreaking 1969 “Objects USA” survey of modern studio crafts. Then he left the limelight to ceaselessly explore the power of beauty and form-making to shape the spirit.”