Oral history interview with John Mason, 2006 August 28
Mason, John, 1927-
Smith, Paul J., 1931-
Coplans, John Rivers
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster),
Peterson, Susan Harnley
Price, Kenneth Martin
Sheets, Millard Owen
Soldner, Paul Edmund
Sullivan, Louis H.
Wright, Frank Lloyd
Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Otis Art Institute
Place of publication, production, or execution:
New York (State)
Transcript: 47 pages.
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformated in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 26 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
An interview of John Mason conducted 2006 August 28, by Paul Smith, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Smith's office, in New York, N.Y.
Mason speaks of his childhood in rural Nevada; early interests in photography and jazz; moving to Los Angeles to attend the Los Angeles County Art Institute, now Otis College of Art and Design; attending Chouinard Art Institute; experiences working at Vernon Kilns and with the head designer Elliot House; opening Glendale Boulevard Studio with Peter Voulkos; his association with Ferus Gallery; and teaching experiences at Pomona College, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Irvine, and Hunter College. He also discusses the development of the Hudson River series exhibition; solo exhibitions at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA Louver Gallery, Pasadena Art Museum, now Norton Simon Museum of Art, and others; participation in group exhibitions such as, "Sculpture Off the Pedestal" at Grand Rapids Museum of Art; imagery found in his work including the orbit, the figure, the torque, the spear form, the vertical form, the cross or X form, symmetry and the monolith; an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan; the architectural qualities in his work; the foresight of Buckminster Fuller; and the accelerating change in technology that has taken place over the course of his career. Mason recalls Susan Peterson, Kenneth Price, Paul Soldner, Mac McClain, Fred Marer, Millard Sheets, Edward Kienholz, Walter Hopps, James Melchert, John Coplans, Richard Ballard, Richard Koshalek, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with John Mason, 2006 August 28. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available on-line.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
John Mason (1927- ) is a ceramicist of Los Angeles, California. Paul Smith (1931- ) is Director Emeritus, American Craft Museum of New York City, N.Y.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001