Woody De Othello: Breathing Room

Friday, November 1, 2019Sunday, April 5, 2020
Organized by Lauren Schell Dickens, curator

Oakland-based artist Woody De Othello creates anthropomorphized household objects in ceramic. Belying their cheery and colorful veneers is a darkly comedic sense of exhaustion. Born in Miami to a family of Haitian descent, Othello is interested in the nature of many African objects, which offer both ritual and utilitarian functions and possess a spirit of their own. His sculptures express a tension between the animate and inanimate and draw humor from a place of pain. For his project at the SJMA—the artist’s first solo museum presentation—Othello is creating a new body of work based around his Defeated, depleted (2018), a sculpture recently acquired by San José Museum of Art.​

Woody De Othello: Breathing Room is supported by the San José Museum of Art's exhibitions fund, with contributions from Tad Freese and Brook Hartzell, the Lipman Family Foundation, and Donna and Marvin C. Schwartz.

Programs at SJMA are made possible by generous support from the Museum's Board of Trustees, a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José, the Lipman Family Foundation, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, Facebook Art Department, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, the SJMA Director's Council and Council of 100, the SJMA Endowment Fund established by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and The William Randolph Hearst Foundation.​



6 ceramic sculpture exhibitions not to miss, San Francisco Chronicle
July 29, 2019

Museum Highlights, November 2019, SF/Arts Monthly
November 1, 2019

Artist Woody De Othello's Oversize Ceramic Sculptures Distort Household Furniture and Appliances, W Magazine
November 14, 2019

On View: ‘Woody De Othello: Breathing Room’ at San José Art Museum, Culture Type
November 24, 2019

Woody De Othello Mixes Playful with Political, Cultured Magazine
November 28, 2019

The Class of 2019? Meet 6 Fast-Rising Artists Having Star Turns at This Year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, artnet News
December 3, 2019

Gravity at Play: Woody De Othello, Mousse Magazine
January 16, 2020


Woody De Othello
Defeated, depleted, 2018. Ceramic, underglaze, and glaze, 38 × 22 × 19 inches; San Jose Museum of Art. Gift of Tad Freese and the Lipman Family Foundation; 2018.13.

Woody De Othello
getting in my own way, 2019. Ceramic and glaze: 39 × 19 × 19 inches overall; vessel: 18 × 20 × 14 inches; base: 22 × 19 × 19 inches. Image courtesy of Jessica Silverman Gallery.

Woody De Othello
vessel for feelings of shame and guilt, 2019. Ceramic and glaze, 66 × 22 × 20 inches overall; vessel: 24 × 22 × 16 inches; base: 42 × 20 × 20 inches. Image courtesy of the Jessica Silverman Gallery.

Woody De Othello
weighing down, 2019. Ceramic and glaze: 50 × 20 × 20 in. overall; vessel: 20 × 20 × 8 inches; base: 29 × 20 × 20 inches. Image courtesy of Jessica Silverman Gallery.