AU Press Releases

The work never gets old for this Alfred University alumnus

Jerome Ackerman MFA '53 at a kiln at Alfred University, circa 1952

Jerome Ackerman MFA '53 at a kiln at Alfred University, circa 1952

Those perusing the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal in early December may have read “The Off Duty 50: Holiday Gifts.” Among the items suggested: A limited edition pair of lovebird candleholders. For the holiday season, only three pairs were hand-cast by the artist.

Those with sharp eyes and a keen memory may have recognized the work of Jerome “ Jerry” Ackerman, MFA ’52.  Jerry, who will be 98 at the end of January, is not only still working, but is enjoying a resurgence of interest in his career.

First, an exhibition, “Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985,” includes work by Jerome and his wife and business partner Evelyn.  It will remain at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through April 1, and may be traveling to Mexico City after that, Jerry reports. For the exhibition, Ackerman Modern partnered with the museum to offer a limited number of journals that feature “Launch Pad,” a tapestry created by Evelyn Ackerman, as a cover design.

Second, a limited number of Jerry’s original designs from 1953 are being reproduced and are now available for sale through Design Within Reach Jenev Ceramics Collection.  Design Within Reach works with a limited number of designers to make their iconic works available to the public.  The Jenev Collection was released Nov. 1, 2017.

In a letter to Alfred University President Mark Zupan, Jerry wrote, “I believe [the designs] have really stood the test of time. I credit Alfred and its wonderful ceramics program with equipping me with all the skills I needed to start my own ceramics business when we moved to Los Angeles. “

With Evelyn, Jerry founded Jenev (a combination of their first names), a firm that was in the forefront of the California mid-century modernism movement. The couple “strove to make beautiful objects that were accessible. We worked really hard, but it was easy because we were in love and we loved what we were doing,” according to a biography of the couple.  By the mid-1950s, they had rebranded themselves as Era Industries and were making mosaics, tapestries, woodcarvings and hardware, in addition to the ceramics originally created by Jerry.

Their story is featured in a book, “Hand-in-Hand” by Dan Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry.

Jerry was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Alfred University in 2010, recognizing his lifetime achievements.