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Roberto Lugo: Hi-Def Archives

March 17–September 24, 2023

Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries (Galleries 124 and 125)
Free Admission
Friends of Decorative Arts
Press Release (PDF)


Roberto Lugo (Puerto Rican-American, b. 1981) draws from his lived experience and deep knowledge of ceramic history to create works that elevate the stories of those historically absent from the decoration of extravagant examples of pottery. Lugo’s multicultural mashups often combine classic forms and patterns with elements of hip-hop.

“As a potter,” Lugo explains, “I aim to carry on the ceramic tradition in a manner that honors the culture and community I come from.”

Lugo was raised in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, an area marked by poverty, violence, and drug trafficking. At the age of 25, he enrolled in his first pottery class. Today, he leads the ceramic department at Temple University in Philadelphia, and his art resides in the collections of the most prestigious art institutions in the country, including the Cincinnati Art Museum. When he is not teaching or creating, Lugo returns to neighborhoods like Kensington with a potter’s wheel emblazoned with the words, “This machine kills hate.” Taking his art to the street, he uses clay and his wheel to teach others how to throw pots, break down cultural and social biases, and encourage the possibility that anyone can choose and achieve their dreams.

Roberto Lugo: Hi-Def Archives features recent works by Lugo. He intends the exhibition to “be both an homage to the village that raised me up and the legacy of Rookwood Pottery.” Showing his work in conversation with selections from the museum’s Rookwood collection, Lugo examines intersections of community, place, and identity, celebrating the rich craft history of Cincinnati while simultaneously recontextualizing the impact of ceramics as contemporary cultural objects that honor all of us.

As part of the exhibition, Lugo held a two-week artist residency at the Cincinnati Art Museum. He created ceramics in a gallery adjacent to the display of his finished works.


Featured Media

Exhibition Content

Download complete Roberto Lugo: Hi-Def Archives large print labels, optimized for screen reader.

Exhibition Content

Download complete Roberto Lugo: Hi-Def Archives large print labels en Español, optimized for screen reader.


Watch Philadelphia pottery artist Roberto Lugo from CBS Sunday Morning on YouTube


Watch Asa Featherstone IV’s film of Roberto Lugo at work in the Cincinnati Art Museum’s galleries.

If you need accessibility accommodations for this program or event, please email [email protected]. Please contact us in advance to ensure accommodations can be made. 


The 26th Annual Kreines Lecture on Decorative Arts and Design: Roberto Lugo

Sunday, March 12, 3–4 p.m.


Members Opening and NCECA Open House

Thursday, March 16, 2023, 5–8 p.m.


CAM Kids Day: Hip Hop Hooray!

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.


Studio Class: Ceramics – Surface Design, 6-week class

Thursdays, April 6–May 11, 6–7:45 p.m.

Presenting Sponsor


FEG investment advisors




Additional support provided by

Capital One