From Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer: For anyone following the controversy erupting around Seattle ceramic artist Charles Krafft, an interview with Krafft on “Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen,” airing on KUOW radio at 7 p.m. Sunday, is sure to be of interest. You can also link directly to the program at www.studio360.org.
Krafft’s viewpoints were exposed last month when Jen Graves, the art critic for Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger, disclosed that over the last few years he has revealed himself to be a white nationalist and a Holocaust denier in both private and public forums. (In the Studio 360 interview, he refers to Hitler as having been “demonized.”)
Graves’ article has left Krafft fans who delighted in his work dismayed. What could be more funny or pointed than his “Porcelain War Museum Project,” in which a sophisticated ceramic medium that’s all but synonymous with high culture (Krafft’s Delftware craftsmanship is exquisite) takes the form of lethal weaponry? The message seems to be: You can have the most civilized veneer imaginable, but barbarism is always lurking just beneath the surface.
A portion of Krafft’s work handles Nazi imagery in the same seemingly satirical manner. But Krafft’s latest remarks have thrown his satirical intentions in doubt. Friends have distanced themselves from him. Curators are wondering what they’ve got on their hands.
Andersen, toward the end of the interview, wonders if Krafft is undergoing some kind of crack-up. Krafft’s response: “Nobody’s said I’m crazy, although somebody wrote that I might be senile. Do you think I need some sort of psychiatric help? … If I find a psychiatrist that can help me, Kurt, I’ll get back to you and let you know when I’m well.”