Masterworks: Viktor Schreckengost and Roberto Lugo
82 Franklin Street
This dynamic juxtaposition between the historic Jazz Bowl, c. 1935, by Viktor Schreckengost, and Hip Hop Bowl, 2022, by Roberto Lugo captures a notable trajectory of artistic engagement with ceramics and highlights Schreckengost’s enduring influence on today’s creative practitioners.
Viktor Schreckengost’s Jazz Bowl series for Cowan Pottery is one of the most famous objects of American Art Deco and the Jazz Age. First commissioned by Eleanor Roosevelt during Prohibition in 1931 to discreetly serve boozy punch in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, New York, the initial design by Schreckengost was known as The New Yorker. These early examples have a parabolic shape, with incised sgraffito decoration, and are glazed in Egyptian Blue.
In 2022, Lugo revisited the theme, deciding this time to glaze the bowl in an electric orange. This version is larger than his first example, closer to the size of Schreckengost’s The New Yorker, with ample room to celebrate the spirit (and equipment) of old-school hip hop. The present example is from a mid-1930s series utilizing a casting technique which allowed the bowls to be produced more economically. It is slightly smaller, has a lipped edge and is known amongst collectors as “The Poor Man’s Bowl.” It is also identified as such by the liquor bottle inscribed with Schreckengost’s signature.
Masterworks is an ongoing exhibition at 82 Franklin Street that features a rotating selection of significant works of historic design.