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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

American, born 1943
Parisienne Chainsaw Massacre
Stoneware, porcelain, and Raku

25 1/4 x 11 3/4 x 7 1/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio

Arts of North America

Adrian Saxe has made ceramic vessels that challenge traditional ideas since the early 1970s. In particular, he often interprets and critiques social and cultural conventions though his ceramic forms. The artist's vessels combine various techniques, clay bodies, historical styles, and recognizable decorative elements into witty and sometimes subversive works.

Saxe’s vessels can often be ornate and are always sculptural in form. Parisienne Chainsaw Massacre features gold luster and deep-hued porcelain glazes. The main body is in the form of a torso, a shape that Saxe used to great effect in monumental sculptures from the early 1980s. In addition to the chainsaw bands, the work is topped by an antelope finial. Saxe views the antelope as a symbol of nature's energy. His use of animal forms dates to the 1970s when he studied animals at the Los Angeles Zoo in conjunction with his coursework at school and his subsequent interest in 18th-century metalwork and trophies.