Beach Museum of Art offers virtual exhibition on art deco sculptor Waylande Gregory
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Waylande Gregory, left, and assistant building sculptures in 1937, including "War" for the Works Progress Administration fountain "Light Dispelling Darkness." | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — A virtual exhibition of works by a former Kansan and one of the most prolific and innovative art deco ceramic sculptors of the 20th century at the Kansas State University Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is offering even more features.
"Waylande Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulse" is a virtual retrospective that expands on an exhibition organized by the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University in New York State and features 3D views of Gregory's art, film footage and interviews with specialists. Gregory, from Baxter Springs, was known for his groundbreaking techniques used to create monumental ceramic works, including his "Fountain of the Atom" for the 1939 New York World's Fair — a tribute to atomic energy that earned the attention of Albert Einstein.
Since the Beach Museum of Art began offering its Gregory virtual exhibition in October 2020, additional programming content has been added, giving viewers an even more in-depth look at the artist who went on to become lead designer at Cowan Pottery in Ohio, known for its limited-edition table-top sculptures; a professor at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan; and more. One of the few ceramic artists of the pre-World War II era to address social and political concerns in his work, Gregory produced ceramic sculpture and tile murals for New Deal-era arts programs during the Great Depression, including the depiction of a mail carrier on horseback for the Columbus, Kansas, post office. During the 1940s and 1950s, he designed tableware, which sold at retail stores such as Bonwit Teller and Neiman Marcus.
The Beach Museum of Art is the first Kansas museum to develop an exhibition about the artist, which can be viewed at beach.k-state.edu/explore. The recordings of previously conducted online events related to the exhibition can be viewed at beach.k-state.edu/videos. They include:
• A lecture by Tom Folk, co-curator of "Wayland Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulses," originally presented Oct. 8, 2020.
• A virtual tour of the Gregory exhibition led by the Beach Museum of Art's Elizabeth Seaton, the exhibition's co-curator. Conducted on Oct. 17, 2020, the tour was part of the museum's Art in Motion Expo.
• The talk "Innovations in Clay" by Nick Geankoplis, K-State assistant professor of art, presented on Oct. 17, 2020, as part of the Art in Motion Expo.
• The lecture "Waylande Gregory and the New York World's Fair" by Robert W. Rydell, professor of American studies at Montana State University, from Nov. 12, 2020.
• The lecture "Waylande Gregory and Cowan Pottery" by Greg Hatch, curator and historian at the Cowan Pottery Museum, presented Feb. 18, 2021.