Alfred University News

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum now hosting art of Nick Lenker

Nick Lenker with his ceramic sculpture 'Disembodied Gazer'
Nick Lenker with his ceramic sculpture 'Disembodied Gazer'

The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum is currently hosting Inventory: The Ceramic Art of Nick Lenker through Nov. 21.

ALFRED, NY - The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum is currently hosting Inventory: The Ceramic Art of Nick Lenker through Nov. 21. All Alfred University students, faculty and staff are welcome to visit the Museum Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10am to 5pm, and enjoy the work of an artist whom Wayne Higby, Director and Chief Curator at the Museum, calls “one of the most conceptually thoughtful and exceptionally skilled ceramic artists at work today.”

 “Lenker’s ceramic art addresses with unique, provocative insight what it means to be an artist working at the juncture of the tangible stuff of ceramic practice and the ubiquitous cyber space that mitigates our lives.” Higby says. “Nick’s question continuously loops through our minds: Is it real?” 

 Lenker was born in Sunbury, Pa. His work emerges, he says, from a lifetime of being alone, even while surrounded by others.

 “As a child, I played video games, a projection of self into another world. I was alone there. As a preteen, I was a Jehovah's Witness, an outsider within my community. I was alone there. As an adolescent, I was queer with no role models. I was alone there. As an adult, I am isolated. Surrounded by windows I cannot open, screens to everyone and anyone's life, I am alone here. You are also alone. We cannot touch one another. I long to be able to connect with people.  The longing for a more intimate experience is contained within these recreated mementos. How do you connect with one person when sharing with all?”

 His art, he says, explores themes of isolation and disconnection: “The impact of a loss of intimacy” in a world that ironically appears increasingly connected. 

 “We live in a world which is becoming increasingly intertwined with a virtual/digital space,” he writes. “Truth can be wildly different based on the layer of an online/virtual reality, which affects how we see the events happening around us. I’m interested in the mechanisms behind this distortion. What is “real” in this “post truth world”?

 A graduate of the University of the Arts (BFA) and Tyler School of Art (MFA), both in Philadelphia, Pa., Lenker exhibited work in Queering Space, hosted by Alfred Unniversity’s School of Art and Design in 2018. His work has appeared in numerous other venues, as well, including the Moore College of Art and Design and the Practice Gallery, both in Philadelphia, and StoneFox Artspace, in New York City. He has been a resident artist at The Clay Studio, in Philadelphia.

 Higby notes Inventory: The Ceramic Art of Nick Lenker is the first in a planned series of Showcase Exhibitions featuring special issues important to art and ceramic art. The series is made possible by a generous donation from friends of the museum D. Philip Baker and David R. Bender.

 Covid-19 protocols are in place. Go to the Museum’s website at for more visitor information.