Roberto Lugo is a Philadelphia-based artist, activist, educator, and spoken word poet known for creating large-scale and ornately decorated ceramics that reimagine historic European and Asian objects of the medium. Lugo complicates the history of these works and the themes they represent – class, privilege, societal values – by creating prized objects that both depict prominent and ordinary figures of color and reference his own Afro-Latino heritage. The permanence of clay complements this mission, as Lugo’s works become lasting monuments to the history and culture of the disenfranchised. In short, Lugo elevates POC culture, community, and history, bringing attention to critical issues of inequality and racial injustice in the art spaces and institutions in which his work is shown.
Lugo holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Penn State. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, among others. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2019 Pew Fellowship, a Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize, and a US Artist Award. His work is found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Brooklyn Museum, Walters Art Museum, and more. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia, PA.