Steven Young Lee
Steven Young Lee is currently Director Emeritus and Special Projects Manager of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana where, for the past 15 years, he has maintained an active studio practice along with orchestrating an organization devoted to excellence in ceramics. In 2004-05, he lectured and taught at numerous universities throughout China as part of a cultural and educational exchange in Jingdezhen, Shanghai and Beijing and spent two months in Seoul, South Korea studying ceramic tradition and history. In 2005-6 he was a visiting professor at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C. Lee has lectured extensively in North America and Asia. In the Fall of 2016 he was one of four artists featured as part of the Renwick Invitational at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. In March 2013 he participated on a panel, "Americans in the Porcelain City," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Also in 2013, he was one of several international artists invited to participate in “New Blue and White,” an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA featuring contemporary artists working in the blue-and-white tradition. In 2019, he had a solo exhibition at the Portland Art Museum. In 2021, his work was included in “Crafting America”, a survey of contemporary craft at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and OBJECTS:USA 2020 curated by Glenn Adamson in partnership with R&Co in New York, NY. His work has been collected by the Smithsonian Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the Newark Museum of Art, the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, the Everson Museum of Art, the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, Korea, and many private and public collections. Lee earned his BFA and MFA in Ceramics from Alfred University.
Growing up in the United States the son of immigrant Korean parents, I am often situated between cultures looking from one side into another. Living and working in metropolitan centers such as New York, Chicago, Shanghai, Seoul and Vancouver, as well as the rural communities of Alfred, Jingdezhen and Helena has raised questions of identity and assimilation. My work allows me to re-interpret and confront questions of place and belonging and investigate the sources and ownership of cultural influence. The vessels I create celebrate the long and complex history of porcelain production by utilizing elements of form, decoration, color and material from many cultures around the world. I cross-reference traditional elements from different cultural sources, East and West, to set up unfamiliar, discordant or ironic relationships.