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Neil Tetkowski

Biography to Display: 

1955 Born Buffalo, New York


1977 BFA New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

1980 MFA Illinois State University


1980- 1983 Professor, Denison University, Ohio

1994-1997 Parsons School of Design, New York, New York

UnknownState University College at Buffalo

UnknownDirector, University Galleries, Kean University, Union, New Jersey


Neil Tetkowski began his career making functional vessel forms. In 1980 he began making pieces he intended be seen as an extension of functional forms, but clearly not functional. He is known for his monumental wheel thrown wall-platters that vary in diameter from 34 inches to four feet and can weigh 125 pounds. This scale provides a large area on which to draw and sculpt.

Tetkowski studied with Val Cushing, Wayne Higby and Robert Turner in the 1970s at Alfred University.

Tetkowski uses a number of tools including a rail spike, wooden toy propeller and other found materials to incise and tear the surface. He began to cut slices from platters and assemble them to create a new body of work in which some pieces hang on the wall, while others were free standing sculptures. This body of work was built in such a way that the viewer could still see the original platter, bowl or charger form. The surfaces are completed with the application of glazes and colored slips to create a painting that includes dry flakey areas complimented by others with metallic sheen. In 1986 Tetkowski began the American Iron and Steel Series made by firing found metallic objects into clay.

He spent much of the 1990s creating a series of performance pieces that involved clay and choreography. In 1991 Tetkowski created Ground War, a performed artwork with clay, bullets, and live music.  This piece was later cast in bronze.  During 1999-2002, he realized his concept of creating the monumental World Mandala Monument. The piece was formed in April 2002 using clay from all the member countries of the United Nations. People from those 188 countries worked on the project. It was displayed at the United Nations, New York and several museums across the United States.

Tetkowski’s projects in clay are conceptual sculptures that focus on cultural, ecological, and geopolitical explorations.


Public Collections to Display: 

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

Ariana Museum of Ceramic and Glass Art, Geneva, Switzerland

Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona

Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio   

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Castellani Art Museum, Niagara University, New York

Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, Mason City, Iowa

Daum Museum Of contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Foundation Keramion, Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen, Frechen, Germany

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia

Hetjens Museum, Dusseldorf, Germany

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia

Icheon World Ceramic Center, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Illinois

International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza, Italy

Kermiex Museum, Princessehof, The Netherlands

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York

Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey

Museum of Applied Arts, Helsinki, Finland

Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia

Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museum of Modern Art, Kogeikan, Tokyo, Japan

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey

Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, New Jersey

Ohi Museum, Kanazawa, Japan

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw, Poland

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

San Angelo Museum of Arts, San Angelo, Texas

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

Suntory Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Republic of China

Terracotta Museum, Petroio, Italy

The Trout Gallery, Dickenson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England


Bibliography to Display: 

Chambers, Karen S. “Neil Tetkowski: Playing with Plates.” The World and I (1990). 

Hirschfeld, Sasha. “Generations in Time.” Ceramics Monthly (March 2005).

Hunt, Bill. “Common Ground: Neil Tetkowski’s World Mandala Movement.” American Craft (August/September 2002).

Koplos, Janet. ”Neil Tetkowski.” American Ceramics Magazine (1985).

McFadden, David. “Neil Tetkowski’s Urban Ikebana.” Ceramics: Art and Perception 43 (2001). 

McTwigan, Michael. “Neil Tetkowski.” American Ceramics 7 (1989).

Minogue, Coll. Impressed and Incised Ceramics, Gestures in Clay. Gentle Breeze Publishing Company, 1996.

Perrault, John. “Neil Tetkowski.” American Ceramics Magazine (2003).

Tetkowski, Neil. “The Terracotta Project.” Ceramics Technical (2011).

________. Common Ground World Project: April 10th-May 5th, 2000, United Nations. New York, NY: United Nations, 2000.

Welch, Adam. “Neil Tetkowski’s Earth Fragments.” Ceramics: Art and Perception (2013).




Typical Marks
Large Platter
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered, Carved
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified August 8, 2023.