Steven Young Lee

2021 Delphi Award Recipient

Steven Young Lee is a master ceramicist, having studied the intricacies and unique forms of ceramics not only in the United States, but in China and Korea as well. Instead of remaining content with his skills, he uses his arena to explore the concepts of belonging, expectation, and perfection in art and in life.  Lee is the teacher who engages us in the investigation of his sculptural pieces, which often embody flawless structures that have purposely been broken or fractured in the making.  He says that “deconstructing and imploding the forms creates a visceral reaction that defies the human desire for perfection and confronts the perception of value.”  He hopes to “redefine” that which is considered beautiful.  

Lee is the resident artistic director of the Archie Bray foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana.  He has lectured and taught throughout North America and Asia, and was a visiting professor at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, B. C. His work has been collected by the Smithsonian Institution and the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, among other museums, and he has recently shown in exhibits in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  He received his BFA and MFA in ceramics at Alfred University.

Rago is privileged to participate in this exceptional event, celebrating these extraordinary artists and supporting one of our nation’s most important cultural institutions.

Suzanne Perrault

The Smithsonian Women's Committee Visionary Benefit Auction

Works Sold to Benefit The Smithsonian Institution

Rago is pleased to include The Smithsonian Women’s Committee Visionary Benefit Auction within our Modern Design sale on May 14th. This special section features works created by past and present Smithsonian Visionary Artists and by the winners of the new Smithsonian Women’s Committee Delphi Award.

The Smithsonian Visionary Award, established in 2014, is presented annually to artists who are deemed by curators in the field to have risen to the pinnacle in the world of sculptural arts and design, who have works in major museums, and who have demonstrated distinction, creativity, artistry, and, of course, vision in his or her respective medium.  

David Ellsworth and Michael Hurwitz, 2021 recipients of the Visionary Award, join the small but prestigious list of past recipients: Patti Warashina, Joyce J. Scott, Faith Ringgold, Dale Chihuly, Toots Zynsky, Wendell Castle, and Albert Paley.

All lots in the Visionary Benefit Auction are of the primary market, unless otherwise indicated. The auction raises funds to support projects and initiatives across the Smithsonian institution. All works will be shipped directly from the artist or the gallery.