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Neil Tetkowski
American installation and performance artist

Neil TetkowskiNew York-based American ceramist Neil Tetkowski earned a BFA at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1977 and an MFA at Illinois State University in 1980. He taught at Denison University, Ohio from 1980-83, at the State University College at Buffalo from 1983-87 and at the Parsons School of Design from 1993-99. He established a studio in Manhattan in 1994 and is currently a professor of Fine Arts at Kean University in Union, New Jersey.

Tetkowski has become known for his environmentally inspired large-scale clay mandala discs and performances involving clay installations of various kinds.

Ground WarOn February 23, 1991, Tetkowski created a performance that culminated in a bronze disk entitled Ground War. The artist incorporated symbols of the three cultures involved in the Gulf War. A crucifix, the star of David, and the Arabic words for ground war were incised into the work's surface, as well as the placement of rounds of live ammunition. In creating a work before an audience, Tetkowski ultimately hoped to push the dynamics of throwing a clay object. He aimed to deepen the viewer's level of awareness to show how we relate to war. Tetkowski challenged the expectations of his audience and by so doing extended the parameters of their thinking. For Tetkowski, the performance was staged "as a means to express my emotional involvement regarding the ever ongoing crisis, all the crisis of humanity... man shooting man... The injustice that human beings do to each other is not over. Yesterday it was Kuwait, today it is Sri Lanka, Liberia, the Sudan, Kashmir and 40 other wars that are not front page news.

In 2002 Tetkowski collaborated with 100 people with consecutive ages 1-100 in Kanazawa, Japan to create a public work called Jedai or 'Generations in Time'. Kanazawa typifies the traditional provincial character and charm of old Japan yet also provides a fabulous example of a people that maintain their traditional and ethnic identity but actively engage in the modern world. Generations in Time celebrates the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Buffalo-Kanazawa Sister City Program providing a tangible expression of communities connecting in a peaceful progressive manner.

Generations in TimeGenerations in Time

World Mandala MonumentHe is the founder and director of the Common Ground World Project, an international non-governmental, United Nations endorsed organization that uses the arts and education to focus attention on global environmental concerns. The project culminated in the World Mandala Monument, a sculpture made from clay and sand from every nation and exhibited at the United Nations building in New York in 2002.


Installation 188 is a conceptual work first exhibited at the United Nations in New York during spring of 2000 to coincide with the creation of the World Mandala Monument. This work measures 24 feet long and features a series of glass bottles numbered 1-188 which contain earth from every country of the world. An elegant aluminum structure securely holds the bottles.

Installation 188Installation 188 (detail)

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