Oral history interview with Robert Winokur

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.winokr11
Creators:
Winokur, Robert, 1933-
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2011 July 23-24
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7 Items
Sound recording: 7 sound files (5 hr., 35 min.)
159 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Robert Winokur conducted 2011 July 23 and 24, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Winokur's home and studio, in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Scope and Contents
Robert speaks of his mother earning an award for her artwork; his father and other family members being Communists and having to distance himself in being identified with them; his mother making ceramic jewelry while his father was working as a welder at Cramps Shipyard in Philadelphia during World War II; feeling like he had an attention deficit disorder of some kind, which prevented him from doing well in school, so he took ceramics classes in high school to bring his grades up; starting in painting at the Tyler School of Art, finishing in sculpture, clay, and ceramics; appreciating the Abstract Expressionist work of Franz Kline; of the opinion that one learns art by doing and that the teachers are there to direct you only; feeling that he did not have the freedom to experiment with clay as he wished at Alfred University, School of Art and Design for fear of being compared to Peter Voulkos; his first job teaching at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas; teaching in Peoria, Illinois for a year; beginning Cape Street Pottery in Ashfield, Massachusetts; when he began salt firing and working more in sculptural forms; his work influenced by Abstract Expressionism, Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Ignazio Giacometti, Zen master calligraphers, Peter Voulkos, and others; feeling that the computer cannot, as of yet, produce the quality of art that humans can through repetition; that the process of creating is more important than the subject; starting his 30-year teaching career at Tyler School of Art in 1966; that students today are approaching ceramics conceptually and academically rather than through a relationship with the material; the beginning of NCECA [National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts]; and how he enjoys making what he wants to, now that he is retired. Robert also recalls Rudolf Staffel, John Wood, Ted Randall, Daniel Rhodes, Shoji Hamada, Marguerite Wildenhain, Ken Ferguson, Norm Schulman, Victor Babu, Myrna Minter, Don Reitz, Helen Drutt English, Richard Notkin, Dick Hay, Marge Levy, and Ken Vavrek.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Robert Winokur (1933- ) is a ceramist in Horsham, Pennsylvania. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is an independent scholar in San Francisco, California.

Administration
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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.

General
General
Originally recorded as 7 sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 35 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Abstract expressionism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramic jewelry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramicists -- Pennsylvania -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramics -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Communism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculpture -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Babu, Victor, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ferguson, Ken, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Giacometti, Ignazio Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hamada, Shōji, 1894-1978 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hay, Dick Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Klee, Paul, 1879-1940 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levy, Marge Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minter, Myrna Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notkin, Richard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Randall, Theodore, 1914-1985 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reitz, Don, 1929-2014 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rhodes, Daniel, 1911-1989 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schulman, Norman, 1924- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Staffel, Rudolf, 1911-2002 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vavrek, Ken Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wildenhain, Marguerite Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood, John, 1922-2012 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alfred University -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Helen Drutt Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
North Texas State University -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tyler School of Art -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tyler School of Art -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/