Charles S. King
Charles S. King Biography
King Galleries of Scottsdale is pleased to represent the Pueblo pottery of many of today’s leading potters. Over the years we have taken the time to get to know each of our gallery artists. As each new piece comes into the gallery, we talk with the artist, finding out about the time and thought that goes into their work. It is important with contemporary pottery to understand the designs and motivation of the artist and their work. Over time, we feel as if we not only have a business relationship with most of the potters, but also a friendship.
Charles grew up in Estes Park, Colorado and while in High School worked at his parents gallery, Serendipity Trading. He received his BA from the University of Colorado and his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He worked overseas and then in 1996 opened King Galleries. The goal has been to create a gallery which represents work by potters and artists who create the highest quality and and inspire the greatest innovation in their art.
Charles King has been a judge in various years since 1996 for pottery at the most prestigious Indian art events, such as Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Indian Market and Gallup Ceremonials. He has also given numerous talks on Pueblo pottery at the Heard Museum, Museum of Indian Art and Culture (MIAC), the Carnegie Museum, the Ceramics Research Center- ASU, the Pueblo Grande Museum, Rockwell Museum of Western Art, The Philbrook Museum and The Denver Art Museum. He has also worked closely with various museums for pottery exhibitions over the years. He advises various auctions houses and museums to assist in the authentication of work by historic pueblo artists, which are then either sold or donated.
Charles served on the Board of Directors of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA), which has the mission of encouraging and preserving authentic Indian art. He was elected in 2008 to the Board of Directors for SWAIA (Southwest Association for Indian Arts), which is the group which puts on Santa Fe Indian Market.
He first wrote about Pueblo pottery in the book “Collecting Authentic Indian Art” and this was followed by the article, “Pueblo Pottery: Folk Art to Fine Art” for the thirtieth anniversary of American Indian Art Magazine. His first book, Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, was published in 2008. This book was published in conjunction with the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA and the exhibit has since traveled to numerous other ventures.
His articles, “Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Pottery: Black is Beautiful“-2009, and “Four Emerging Potters: Gen Next“-2010 were published in Native Peoples Magazine. His second book, “The Art and Life of Tony Da” was published in 2011 and written with Richard Spivey. Most recently he has written “Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180” in conjunction with the exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. In 2015-16 he took time away from the gallery to work with the Smithsonian Museums and Smithsonian Enterprises at their museum stores in Washington, DC. on several projects. He is now back at the new gallery location in Scottsdale! His next book project, “Spoken Through Clay“, will be published in 2017!
Some highlights over the years….
“Twenty Years of Native Excellence”
King Galleries: #9 Pottery Blog on the Internet
The King Galleries Pottery Blog was selected as #9 out of 50 pottery blogs on the internet by Feedspot.
That included pottery blogs from all over the world and the New York Times was number 3!
ATADA Art News
Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past
by Charles S. King
First American Art Magazine
Santa Clara Ceramic Artist Jennifer Moquino
by RoseMary Diaz
“Similar sentiments come from Charles King, owner of King Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Moquino’s work is currently represented among the best of the best in Pueblo pottery. He describes her work this way, “Jennifer picks up where potters such as Joseph Lonewolf and her father Ray Tafoya left off. There is a sophisticated realism that dominates the surface of her pottery. Her work is different from those in the past as her focus isn’t just on the detail, but recognizes the importance of color and even the surrounding landscape.” King continues, “Sometimes the best part of her design is how she captures the shading on a cactus or the subtle shifting of a cloud”.
“The sculptural aspect of her pottery, specifically in her lids, is dazzling in [its] refinement,” observes King. “Having worked with her for over ten years, it’s impressive to see the growth in her design style and her vessels. I can’t wait to see where her work transitions in the next ten years!”
Exhibitions | Santa Fe Indian Market: Four Exhibitions You Should Not Miss
August 18, 2016
The leading dealer in Native pottery, Charles King, has teamed up with Cochiti artist Virgil Ortiz and has produced a large, elegantly appointed pop-up gallery, KG&VO, two blocks from the Plaza. The big excitement is ceramics by Ortiz that are made for the first time in non-native clays, allowing him sculptural possibility and a new level of control that was denied to him with pit-fired Pueblo clays.
Also in the gallery are works by other leading contemporary Native ceramists —Nathan Youngblood, Virgil Ortiz, Les Namingha, Tammy Garcia— and choice pieces by the early matriarchs such as Marie Martinez and others. And do not miss the mezzanine where Ortiz’s leather and fashion creations are on show.”
Scholar to Illuminate Mysteries of Pueblo Pottery
Aug 6, 2016
Charles King is an author, potter and expert on Southwestern Pueblo Indian pottery as well as the founder of King Galleries in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is planning a lecture titled “Visionary Pueblo Potters, Past and Present” Saturday (Aug. 6), 10 a.m., in the Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St.
The lecture is presented in conjunction with the Couse-Sharp Historic Site exhibit, “Visionaries in Clay.”
“I will focus on Native Pueblo potters from around 1900 to the present and talk about the creative changes in the art over the past century,” King said. “The lecture will deal both with artists and art trends.”
King opened King Galleries in 1996 with the goal of representing work by artists of the highest quality. He has degrees from the University of Colorado and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He has been a judge at a number of art events, including Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Indian Market and Gallup Ceremonials.
In 2008, he was elected to the board of directors of the Southwest Association for Indian Arts. He also served on the board of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association.
King is the author of “Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya” (2008), “The Art and Life of Tony Dá” (2011, co-written with Richard Spivey), “Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180,” which was presented in conjunction with the exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, and “Voices in Clay,” which will be published in 2017. He has researched about both traditional and innovator artists.
“‘Voices in Clay’ is about contemporary potters and the same time period as the lecture,” King said.
The presenter was asked by the Couse Foundation and museum consultant Davison Koenig to give the lecture. He is indeed the right person for the job.
“Besides writing these books and many articles, I have been involved in world of Native [American] pottery for over 20 years, giving lectures nationwide on contemporary trends in the art form,” King said.
The presentation at the Harwood will include information about many of the historic pieces from the Couse Foundation collection. “The collection at the Couse Foundation is truly remarkable and a hidden gem,” King said. “There are significant clay vessels there of historic importance, so this will be a nice opportunity to give them more public exposure.”
The fact that he will include information about present-day pottery makes the lecture particularly interesting for curators, art students and those who want to learn more about this ancient art form that hasn’t yet stopped developing. “I want to encourage people to think about Native pottery as something alive and evolving,” King said. “I also encourage them to check out the amazing pieces in the current Couse exhibit and think about how they are part of this evolution in clay.”
Such evolution will be covered in detail during the lecture. For a scholar like King, who has researched the lives of Margaret Tafoya and Tony Dá (the grandson of Maria Martinez, legendary potter of San Ildefonso Pueblo), among other iconic artists, this is a special opportunity to share his knowledge with the Taos audience. He also makes the art of pottery relevant for younger generations and inspires them to find out more on their own.
“It’s great to make people think more about the creative spirit of the artists and the dynamic changes in the Pueblo pottery in a very short period of time,” he said. “In less than a century, it has evolved from utilitarian to folk art to fine art pottery.”
Meanwhile, at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, the exhibit “Visionaries in Clay” will feature Native American artists whose work helps to define the understandings of Native identity and cultural expression. It contains pieces from Taos Society of Artists founder E.I. Couse’s collection and from the work of contemporary Native artists in Northern New Mexico. The exhibit is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and otherwise by appointment. It will remain on view through Oct. 29, 2016.
August 5, 2016
“Visionaries in Clay: Pueblo Pottery Past & Present”
Art & Antiques
“Charles King, founder of King Galleries in Scottsdale, Ariz., notes that artist Virgil Ortiz “brings all his nieces and nephews. Even if they don’t make pots, they know where the clay is. Everybody goes, and everybody participates.”
“This is not to imply that wannabe Native American contemporary ceramic artists can prosper just by leaning on a family tree. “You may have a famous last name, but you had better be doing something interesting,” says King, whose gallery specializes in contemporary Pueblo pottery. “In order to get a career out of it, you have to be doing your own style of work.”
“Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano keep a traditional division of labor, she doing most of the pot-making and he handling the graphic design and painting, but their work is very much a collaboration. Their Endless Loop jar, which earned an Honorable Mention at the 2015 Santa Fe Indian Market, shows how far Holt has advanced as a potter. It was difficult to shape and difficult to fire with traditional methods. Reano may not have painted the jar right away, however, possibly preferring to hold the shape in his mind for a while before picking up his brush. “Sometimes a piece will sit there, and he won’t design it for several months,” says King. “Finally he tries something, and it’s the perfect design.”
“A stargazer “Tsin” jar from his Modernly Ancestral series boasts graphics as bold as those from a rock show poster. The jar employs traditional clay, traditional pigments, and traditional firing and has a Cochiti decoration around its neck that is known as a “spirit line.” It also has a less traditional profile of a man with spiked hair and a male figure shown full-length in what may as well be a leather jacket.”
“The labor-intensive nature of contemporary Native American ceramics is rarely evident on first glance. Nancy Youngblood’s ribbed jars and pots are easy on the eyes but definitely not easy to create. She uses a ruler and standard math (not a computer) to ensure that the ribs are equal in size. Polishing the ribs to her own exacting standard is the real pain—Youngblood can complete three per day. “She’s very much a perfectionist in what she does, and she does it all herself,” says King. Indeed, most contemporary Native American ceramicists do all the work involved in producing their ceramics—from digging the clay to sculpting to polishing to firing to painting—themselves, with no assistants, not even for the most tedious tasks. Understandably, this practice seriously limits their output. The artists under discussion generally produce between one dozen and maybe a bit more than three dozen pieces per year.”
“While the ways of their ancestors remain important to Native American contemporary ceramicists, some have confronted the limitations of traditional materials and techniques and have chosen to step beyond them. Faced with the choice of toiling over her red clay pieces only to subject them to the risks of outdoor firing, Garcia began employing an electric kiln around the year 2000. “She wanted to create an aesthetic and a particular look, and kiln-firing was the way to do it,” says King. “She spends a lot of time making [her works] and she didn’t want to lose them. She’s very upfront about it, and it’s had no impact on her popularity or her sales.”
“Ortiz has ventured even further from Native American ceramic traditions for his ongoing Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180 series. He wanted to create figures that measured two feet or more, but Native community clays aren’t elastic enough to support artworks of that size. Instead, Ortiz turned to commercial clay to achieve his aims, and he fired these larger works in an electric kiln. Watchman: Luminus, which is 28 inches tall and 15 inches wide, is a compelling piece that would not have been possible to make otherwise. King expresses confidence that collectors will accept the new Ortizes “because it’s Virgil, and there’s a reason behind it. He’s doing something so different that couldn’t be done with normal clay. I think people will go along with him.” King notes that these Ortiz pieces are “selling fairly well.”
Native American Art Magazine
“Charles King of King Galleries wrote the catalog for Revolt 1680/2180 and has sold Ortiz’s work for the past 10 years. “Virgil’s recent works are redefining the public’s perceptions and expectations about Native art. They are opening the door for the next generation of artist to push boundaries”, King says. “Indian art is often seen within an ethnographic or narrow ethnic context. Virgil is breaking these perceptions as he uses futuristic imagery combined with his story of the Pueblo Revolt. He is forcing people to look for the content withing the art piece in addition to an appreciation for techniques, form and surface, which make a great piece of pottery”.
King also says that Ortiz is not just creating new art, but creating a new vocabulary for themes for his audiences. “it is easy to say an artist is ‘cutting edge’. Virgil has been groundbreaking throughout his career. His erotic and S&M figures were unheard of at that time. Today he blends history with the future to tell the story of the Pueblo people. He has incorporated items like gas masks in his figures to make commentary on the environment,” says King. “His ability to go from clay to fashion and other art mediums has opened door for other artists to realize they did not have to be limited to one medium as an artist”. pp 88-84.
“Promotion for the exhibition had the dynamism and directness of circus posters, albeit raising the sophistication bar. A catalog supports the exhibition and contains an important essay by Charles King. He takes on the challenge of drawing the past, present and future into a narrative of Indian rebellion and the personal journey of Ortiz. It’s a tale of warriors and visionaries, of clowns and heroes and will be published in full in our forthcoming cfile.critical series.”
“Crafted of Clay”
Phoenix Home & Garden
“Native American pottery is, variously, artistic, religious, social, personal, political or cultural expression, says Charles King of King Galleries in Scottsdale. ‘While shapes, forms and designs are constantly evolving, there remains an ancient legacy inherent in the clay and each vessel. It is the clay and the time-involved process of digging it locally and refining it to make it usable for coil building the vesssel that forms the bond of the artists with their cultural past’, he says.” p. 106-109
May 13, 2015
Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180
Lecture with Virgil Ortiz & Charles S. King
Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180
Charles S. King
April 23, 2015
“Present in the Past: The Pottery Art of Maria Martinez, Margaret Tafoya and Tony Da”
Lecture by Charles S. King
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180 Lecture at Heard Museum
Virgil Ortiz & Charles S. King
“Pueblo Pottery: Attentive listeners get a crash course in Arizona/New Mexico tribal geography and geneaology at King Galleries in Scottsdale. Charles S. King is a published authority on Pueblo pottery, and can recite family lineages by memory. King’s repetoire features important historic pieces, three inch miniature works, vessels by living elders as well as potters in their 20’s and 30’s and schemes not typically thought of as “Indian art” (e.g. Virgil Ortiz’s human figures with exaggerated limbs or pots with tattoo-like graphics).
Where Magazine: Phoenix + Scottsdale
“City Focus: Desert Bloom”
Art & Antiques Magazine
“King Galleries of Scottsdale, owned by Charles King, a scholar of Native pottery, shows the work of the foremost Pueblo potters, including black-and-white designs of Acoma and black-on-black decorated pots from Santa Clara.”
Pottery Collector’s Workshop
Book signing for “Born of Fire”
Santa Fe, NM
“Ears of Corn: Listen” by Max Early
‘Poetry and pottery are art forms simultaneously ancient and yet made for the moment. The words flow like coils of clay to surround the reader and build a vision of the mind and soul of the poet. Potter Max Early’s poetry in ‘Ears of Corn: Listen” reveals much about life in his native Laguna Pueblo. More importantly it gives a modern voice to an ancient culture making it relevant for both a new generation and also those outside the Pueblo. The poems tell his story of how, “Breaking gender taboos didn’t turn me to stone” and the delicate balance he finds between embracing modernity and reveling in the past. The use of native Laguna words adds grace to the poems, much like a perfectly painted vessel; they lyrically draw the eye, create balance and provide a connection to the viewer. Not only is Max’s collection of poems worth a read, but a second read as well. The first time they may just seem pretty, but the second time the novelty is gone and the substance remains. Much like Max’s pottery.’
Charles S. King, Author of “Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya” and “The Life and Art of Tony Da”
May 20, 2014
Pottery Education Discussion at
National Museum of the American Indian Gift Shop, NYC
“Alan Cameros more than an art collector”
“It was a chance meeting with Charles King, owner of King Galleries of Scottsdale in Arizona, that raised their collecting of Southwestern pottery to new heights. King, who Cameros brought to MAG last week for a private lecture to collectors, helped the couple to identify emerging talent and to better establish relationships with a current generation of Pueblo potters.
“We met Charles at the Indian Market in Santa Fe, an event that brings Native American artists’ work to market each summer,” Cameros says. “We collected what we liked. Charles was studying and acquiring the work of many of the artists we’d discovered at market, and he guided many of our purchases from then on.”
King has written two books on the subject — Born of Fire, MargaretTafoya and the Art and Life of Tony Da — and has been collecting and selling Pueblo pottery for more than 20 years. He is one of three authors credited with elevating American Indian pottery from an ethnographic curiosity to the status of fine art.
King calls the Cameroses “risk-takers.” Sheila K. Hoffman, former curator at Rockwell, credits Nancy Cameros’ ability to spot significant work.
“While visiting an antique Indian art show in Santa Fe, Nancy spotted an unlabeled redware pot with a sgraffito (shallow surface scratch) feather pattern and turquoise inlay,” Hoffman says. “She immediately felt sure that it was a quintessential pot by Tony Da, grandson of Maria Martinez, matriarch of the San Ildefonso pottery tradition. Da’s grandfather, Julian Martinez, is said to have revived the feather pattern from ancient pueblo ware. Da’s father, Popovi Da, was among the first to experiment with both sgraffito and turquoise inlay — techniques Tony Da later perfected.”
King, in an American Indian Art Magazine in 2005, divided Native American artists into three categories: those who were at the foundation of the art, contemporary traditionalists and contemporary innovators. The Nancy and Alan Cameros Collection represents all three, so the book that served as a catalog for the first exhibit of the couple’s art at Rockwell, in 2007, borrowed King’s categories to describe the pieces.
The Cameroses’ collection has “The Great Mothers,” pieces from five women who revived a dying art of pottery-making in the Pueblos; “Keepers of the Tradition,” from modern potters who cross over to contemporary styles but retain some of the techniques and standards of traditional work; and “Artists without Reservation,” whom Hoffman says “are not constrained by manmade boundaries whether geographical or philosophical.”
Cameros recently helped Rockwell purchase two clay works of historical significance that will be permanently housed at the museum, Long Neck Jar with Carved Avanyuby Margaret Tafoya, and Set of 20 Miniature Graduated Sgraffito Pots by Joseph Lonewolf.
Still, Cameros says he considers Pueblo pottery under-represented and not recognized enough in the East. And so he continues what he and his wife began, getting the word out, piece by piece.”
A Century of Tradition, Innovation and Change
Lecture by Charles S. King
May 13, 2014
Memorial Art Gallery
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
“Joseph Lonewolf & Margaret Tafoya”
“The Nancy & Alan Cameros Collection”
Charles S. King Lectures
Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning, New York
March 19, 2014
“Margaret Tafoya, Tony Da & The Heard Museum”
Charles S. King Lecture
Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
“Tony Da: Two Jars” by Charles S. King
March 3, 2013
Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya
Re: Generation: A Survey of Margaret Tafoya’s Descendants
Ceramics Research Center, Tempe Arizona
February 8, 2013
Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya
Re: Generation: A Survey of Margaret Tafoya’s Descendants
Ceramics Research Center, Tempe Arizona
Book Signing of “Born of Fire” by Charles S. King
January 9, 2013
by Kevin Downey
…Although Tafoya’s pottery, including water jars and plates, was functional, it also was decorative. Many of her pieces had highly polished finishes with images of animals, people and clouds pressed or cut into them. “A lot of the designs are decorative but also embedded in the history of the Santa Clara Pueblo people,” Held said. “The work has a timeless beauty. People who are not familiar with pueblo pottery can still appreciate the technical skills involved.”
ASU’s exhibit, “Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya” has 30 of her pieces of on display. Pottery from 18 of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren also are in the exhibit. Tafoya died in 2001. “There is a similarity in their work, but a number of them have developed their own styles and designs,” Held said. “But they all work in the tradition of Santa Clara Pueblo pottery, which has evolved over time.”
On Feb. 8, the ASU Art Museum will host a book signing of “Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya,” by Charles King, who owns King Galleries of Scottsdale. “She was really a pivotal figure in transforming the pottery from utilitarian to folk art to this period where it is fine art,” King said. “Her life transcended that entire period.” He said Tafoya made enough money from her artwork to provide for her 12 children, some of whom graduated from college. She also passed on the traditions of Santa Clara Pueblo pottery. “It is about utilizing the resources available to you,” King said. “It’s about the connection to nature. So, all the clay they’re using is from near the pueblo. “It’s the same with the designs, like bear claws. There’s a legend that a bear led them to water during a drought. These are stories that teach you about who you are.”
June 4, 2012
Bonham’s Catalog, p. 43
Tony Da Turtles by Charles S. King
June 22, 2012
Far View Lodge, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
“The Art and Life of Tony Da”
A Lecture and Book Signing By Charles S. King
as part of the
2012 Four Corners Lecture Series
“Crossroads of Arts and Cultures”
An Exhibition of pottery by Maria Martinez and Photography by Laura Gilpin
The Philbrook Museum of Art
Thursday, March 15
Charles King – a lecture:
“From Maria & Julian to Jarrod Da: A Legacy of Innovative Imagery“
Jarrod Da – Painting Demonstration
“Lecture by Charles King, noted Native American ceramics scholar and author.
King will be signing copies of his new book The Life and Art of Tony Da”
at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
November 17, Illustrated Presentation and Book Signing with Charles S. King
“Little Giants: 15th Anniversary of King Galleries”
Virgil Ortiz made the above original clay figure of Charles King for the gallery anniversary!
August 14, 2011
“The Art and Life of Tony Da”
Charles S. King
at Museum of Indian Art and Culture, Santa Fe, NM
“Vertigo: A Spin on Tradition”
Charles S. King, Virgil Ortiz & Family
at Museum of Indian Art and Culture, Santa Fe, NM
at the Erie Art Museum, Erie Pennsylvania
June 24-25, Illustrated Presentation and Gallery Talk with Charles S. King
A Book by Charles S. King and Richard Spivey
American Indian Art Magazine, Winter 2010, 35th Anniversary Issue
Charles S. King
“Four Emerging Potters: Generation Next“
Featuring: Sarena Ebelacker, Dominic Ortiz, Jamie Zane Smith and Chris Youngblood
by Charles S. King
A Book by Charles S. King
“This large format book portrays fine photographs of Tafoya’s ceramics. Many old photos show Tafoya shaping pots, sanding them and preparing them for firing. The detailed and engaging writing makes this book not only a retrospective of an artist, but a celebration of a life lived fully within the Pueblo traditions.”
–Enchantment, Book Chat – Cindy Bellinger, 2009
Native Peoples Magazine
“Santa Clara & San Ildefonso Pottery: Black is Beautiful“
Featuring: Marvin Martinez, Erik Fender, Sharon Garcia, Daryl Whitegeese, Dolores Curran, Gloria “GoldenRod” Garcia
by Charles S. King
A Book by Charles S. King
“King has made himself a scholar in pursuit of an understanding of how traditional ways of life, changing times and one woman’s vision are so tightly bound. . . . Born of Fire is a handsome introduction to and reminder of the exquisite pottery of Margaret Tafoya.”
–The Bloomsbury Review – 2008
Rockwell Museum of Western Art, “The Gallery Perspective with Charles King”, May 7, 2008
“Join gallery owner and Pueblo pottery expert Charles King for a presentation and discussion on his experience of collecting and representing the work of today’s most innovative Native American potters. He will discuss his long-standing relationship with the potters and the role his gallery plays in representing the artists’ work to the public.
This program will wrap up the four-part “Perspective Series” inspired by the special exhibition, Crafted to Perfection: The Nancy & Alan Cameros Collection of Southwestern Pottery, currently on view through May 18, 2008.”
“Scottsdale Native Arts Mecca”, Native Peoples Magazine Jan/Feb 2008
“Visit King Galleries of Scottsdale, opened by Charles King in 1996. In a contemporary space with a rustic touch – a white-wood beam ceiling – you’ll see the work of many of today’s leading Pueblo potters, including fineline Acoma black-and-white designs, black-on-black pots from San Ildefonso and polychrome works from Santa Clara, as well as some select works in other media. Pottery includes historic and contemporary pieces. King says, “Over the years, we’ve taken the time to know each of our gallery artists.
“Crafted to Perfection: The Nancy & Alan Cameros Collection of Southwestern Pottery”
Sheila Hoffman, Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning, NY
“To Charles King, I am simply indebted forever. After being initially inspired by an article of his, I continued to seek his counsel as the catalogue progressed. Charles responded with amazing generosity, ultimately reading and vetting most aspects of this catalogue. The passion and knowledge he has for Southwestern pottery is immense and invaluable. The catalogue has benefited from his insight and opinions, and is an unquestionably superior product because of him”. p. 9
“So, in devising the structure of this catalogue, it became apparent that it must reflect the tastes of the collectors, the collection itself, and the artists’ work within. The accepted method of objective, academic organization was poorly suited to illuminating a subjectively composed private collection. A new method was needed. Charles King, of the King Galleries of Scottsdale, Arizona, deserves credit for inspiring the structure that became a solution for this book. His article in the winter 2005 American Indian Art Magazine, “Pueblo Pottery: From Folk Art to Fine Art” divided contemporary potters (those producing in the past 30 years) into three groups: The Foundation, Contemporary Traditionalists, and Contemporary Innovators. After a discussion with Charles King, he generously gave me permission to use his ideas as a springboard.”
“For the purposes of this catalogue, which comprises work from more than 100 years of Southwestern pottery, Charles King‘s categories needed to be expanded and altered. It seemed clear that this catalogue should begin with the great matriarchs who revived or created traditions in their respective pueblos or reservations. From there, it seemed initially obvious that some potters since that time became known for either preserving tradition (traditionalists, if you will) or expanding upon it (innovators). p. 19
“Collaborations in Clay: Pueblo Pottery in NYC, Part VII”
“Ambitious! That is probably the best way to describe what turned out to be one of our most interesting and exciting gallery theme events. We asked 20 potters to collaborate in pairs, and create a single piece of pottery. The artists were paired based on style and not on relation or pueblo. They were encouraged to work outside their comfort zone, and to learn something from the other artist, or to try something new and expand their knowledge of the clay. A few of the results are seen below, and a few still remain to be finished. This project became a learning experience for the artists and for us at the gallery. This was certainly an opportunity to see Pueblo potters grow in their craft, knowledge and connection to other potters. Thanks to everyone for being part of such an amazing event!” Charles S. King
“Free Spirit: The New Native American Potter” by Garth Clark
“Native ceramists view the Free Spirits with ambivalence. Some welcome the change and fresh ideas they bring to the field. Others are concerned that they are a thin edge of a wedge that may open tradition up to erosion. As the Scottsdale dealer Charles Kingpoints out, this has less to do with the shape, images or subject of the pot itself than with how it is made, ‘The fight between tradition and innovation is over the sanctity of process, not content’.” p. 15
“Free Spirit Museum Exhibit”, May 20, 2006
“Free Spirits” SM’s Museum, The Netherlands
An exhibit of Contemporary Pottery by Virgil Ortiz, Susan Folwell, Christine McHorse, Diego Romero & Nathan Begaye
Symposium on Pueblo pottery as an opening to the Free Spirits Exhibit
-Lectures by Christine McHorse, Diego Romero, Susan Folwell & Virgil Ortiz
–Charles King, King Galleries of Scottsdale, “Pueblo Pottery; Encouraging Standards for High Quality and Innovation”
– Round Table Discussion with the artists Virgil Ortiz, Susan Folwell, Diego Romero & Christine McHorse,
Pieter Hovens and Charles King, led by Garth Clark.
“Forms of Exchange” Museum Exhibit, April 28, 2006
“King Galleries is of particular interest to pottery collectors. Founder Charles King is celebrating his 10th anniversary, representing of many of today’s leading Pueblo potters. Each piece of pottery in the gallery is handmade, stone polished and painted, and almost all are traditionally fired. “Tradition with a twist” is how King describes the featured work of Santa Clara potter LuAnn Tafoya. The daughter of renowned potter Margaret Tafoya, LuAnn has continued her mother’s legacy of large-scale vessels, which remains unique to the Tafoya family. Her high polish and use of traditional shapes and firing techniques yield spectacular masterpieces in clay.
Margaret Tafoya’s legacy also continues through the technical superiority in the innovative as well as traditional designs and presentations in the works of her grandson, Nathan Youngblood. A sixth-generation potter, Youngblood preserves the ancestral philosophy of his grandmother and mother, Mela, both of whom instilled in him that “clay is a gift; it is a privilege that the Clay Mother gives us.” King showcases Youngblood’s diligently sculpted pottery. ”
American Indian Art Magazine, Winter 2005, 30th Anniversary Issue
“Pueblo Pottery: Folk Art to Fine Art”
Charles S. King
Arizona Republic, February 2005
“A savvy observer might have noticed the swell of aqueous turquoise hues and Indian-inspired creations. Don’t feel un-hip if you didn’t.
Arizona has long embraced the at-once earthy and ethereal fashions of Indian artists that East and West Coast trendsetters are now sporting.
High-profile designers such as Ralph Lauren lit the wildfire for Southwestern fashion. Last fall, he highlighted turquoise belts and jewelry. Designer Michael Kors has since made turquoise stones the centerpiece of his high heels, pendants and belts. And after interviewing designers, the Pantone Color Institute reports that “blue turquoise” is the choice for the spring/summer 2005 season after apple green.
Arizona jewelry sellers have felt the rush of foot traffic and the inconvenience of trendy admiration. “Some of my suppliers are having trouble keeping concha belts in as a result of this craze,” said Martin Kim, museum store manager at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. Since finding favor with high fashion, the market has been flooded with Southwestern ersatz jewelry and designs. Selling fake jewelry disguised as Native American hand-made art is illegal by federal law and is likely to continue to be an issue in Arizona.
But Charles King, owner of King Galleries in Scottsdale, said if the hot fashion moment sparks interest in the authentic art form of Indian crafts, the trend could be good for Indian jewelers and dealers. “There’s always going to be those fakes,” King said. “If Gucci watches are popular, then there will be people making fake Gucci watches as well. And there’s always going to be a certain value in spending a little more for the real thing.”
Longtime Indian jewelry collector Andy Eisenberg of Scottsdale agreed that a household name like Ralph Lauren will promote the popularity of authentic Indian crafts. “He has had that sincere interest in the state and things Southwestern for a long time, although he’s using much more pieces in his ads now,” Eisenberg said. “And I think they’re gorgeous. I like his use of the heavy concha belts.”
Fashion has had a long off-again, on-again love affair with Western dress, and turquoise in particular. The pioneers adopted moccasins and beading in their garments. In the 1960s and ’70s women adopted the individuality of fringe and turquoise as they expressed their independence. During the bicentennial, the Southwestern look returned as people yearned for the nostalgia and romance of America’s roots, said Dennita Sewell, fashion curator at the Phoenix Art Museum. “It’ll go beyond forever because it’s been going on forever,” Sewell said. “It’s an American tradition. It’s iconic of American style.” In other words, don’t toss any turquoise collected during this reign of popularity in the yard-sale pile.
Far from the runways but no less timely, Phoenix’s Heard Museum presents the work of New Mexico pueblo potter artist/fashion designer Virgil Ortiz. Ortiz collaborated with New York designer Donna Karan on her 2003 spring line. His display of traditional clay figures and haute couture continues through June 2. Tote bags inspired by Ortiz’s very pricey purses will sell for a reasonable price at the upcoming Heard’s 47th annual Indian Fair & Market. The finest Indian jewelry makers in the country will display their wares at the fair March 5 and 6.
Native Peoples Magazine, Jan/Feb 2003
“I remember my first show, in the he late 1980’s”, recalls (Mark) Tahbo. “I was like a leaf rattling in the he wind, but I quickly learned how to mingle and talk with people. I always wanted gallery representation, and I kept wondering if I’d ever get approached. I metCharles at the Heard Market, and we immediately hit it off. We throw ideas back and forth, and he goes beyond what’s expected. It’s a great relationship”. Another potter King has worked with extensively over the past decade, providing her with her first regular exposure, is Rainy Naha. She concludes, “I knew I had the talent, but he knows the business side so well. this is so important for artists. He has also told me, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go beyond. Build on traditions.’ “
“While many art galleries represent the work of Native American potters, just a select few specialize in showing only the very best talents in this ancient art form. King Galleries, an understated and compact art space … is one of those select few. Its focus is on the top Pueblo potters, both deceased and living. It’s the kind of gallery whose support of an artist’s work means that individual is among the very best talents in his or her field”
Luxury Golf Magazine, 2000
“During the 1980’s, better technical execution and an trend toward more refined and detailed work triggered increasing interest in pottery, according to Charles King of King Galleries of Scottsdale in Arizona. In the last five years, special pieces with designs that have transcended folk art to become fine art have been eagerly snatched up, King says.”
Travel & Leisure Magazine, January 1999
“King Galleries of Scottsdale. One of the best sources for contemporary Native American pottery is Charles King, who ferrets out the unusual.”
“Collecting Authentic Indian Art”
“Pueblo Pottery” section written by Charles King
Art Talk, December 1997
Tradition in Transition. “But for now the market seems to have entered a winnowing out stage where the abundance of cream is forcing the absolute best and brightest to the top. Charles King has a lovely gallery on Main Street in Scottsdale. He puts it succinctly: “It really has changed. There’s so much Native artwork. The whole filed of quality has risen and there’s much more creativity going on. You have to do more and rise and stand out than ever before.” And collectors are paying close attention to the competition While in other areas of collecting the buyers are looking for the older, established names, serious collectors of Native art look through the other end of the telescope. “With collectors in the filed of Native American art there’s always this desire to find who’s going to be the next big name. It’s the complete opposite of other kinds of art. The established names almost get set aside in the search for the young ones coming up. People are on the hunt for whoever is going to be the next Maria.”
According to King the market is “very good” for the highest quality, most tasteful fine art pieces, especially jewelry and pottery. “Lower down it’s not so good. Unfortunately, those top-end artist do the least work, ” adds King, echoing the sad lament that can be heard among dealers of any kind of quality art.”
Art Talk, December 1996
“Speaking of wishing people well, there’s a person I don’t need to wish well because he’s going to do quite well, thank you very much – and that would be Charles King. Now, if you flipped his name around, he would be King Charles and that’s a more appropriate moniker . . . as in King of Native American pottery. It has been a long time since I have seen a new gallery with the were-with-all to become an instant success, but Charles is doing just that. He recently opened King Galleries of Scottsdale on Main Street and what a jewel of a gallery. Loaded with top quality (NO JUNK) Native American crafts but specializing in pottery (which I have always loved) and because of that, I think he will be enormously successful.
You can contact Charles at (480) 440-3912 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org