Jesse Albrecht



Albrecht was half way through the ceramic MFA program at the University of Iowa when he was deployed to Iraq with the Iowa National Guard.  2003-2004 he served in Mosul as a medic and performing convoy and security operations.  Albrecht developed and implemented an art program at a Montana based military nonprofit and has led workshops and taught at various colleges and universities.  Ceramics, drawing, paper making, printmaking and collaboration are avenues Albrecht is practiced in.  He lives and works in Belgrade, Montana.

Artist Statement

I saw the live footage on 9/11, as I walked through the student union to graduate life drawing class.  Three semesters later I was in Iraq, deployed with the Iowa National Guard as a combat medic.  

They didn’t issue me my aid bag. 

They also forgot to issue the ceramic plates (SAPI—small arms protective insert) that would actually stop bullets, until just before we came home. 

Thanks to my art history classes, I was aware of the historical-cultural significance of the ruins of Nineveh, across the street from the children’s hospital in Mosul, Iraq, where we would deliver medical supplies.  My work strives to be honest and accountable to the enigmatic experience of Iraq, the most beautiful and most horrific aspects occupying the same space at the same time, and the unfolding journey home.  

My pots are formed like the Iraq war, and are used to store and carry that experience.  I use the potter’s wheel and enjoy the experience of throwing out of control.  I use underglaze in a painterly manner, to convey humor and horror–making each pot a unique composition, using a blend of personal and archetypical, historical and contemporary aspects of art and war.  Found and made stamps along with commercial underglaze decals oscillate from rainbows to shrapnel, and present contrast and complexity to the pieces.  Historical military objects, specifically nose art of WWII and Zippos from Viet Nam along with Empire pots of Europe and Asia are aesthetic and conceptual influences.  Recovery, love, and beauty are present through my daughter’s collaboration, and toys and stuffed animals, and imagery of nature and my use of color.  

I am recording my human experience of war, and the road home.  It is contradictory and complicated, deeply personal yet universal. 


2006 Master of Fine Arts, Ceramics & Drawing, Honors, The University of Iowa, Iowa City

2000 Bachelor of Science, Ceramics, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI

Exhibitions (selected)

2022 The UN-homecoming of Uncle Dirty and Jimmy Cardell, Sean Chandler & Jesse Albrecht, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT

2021 Yellowstoned, Paintallica, Aunt Dofe’s Gallery, Willow Creek, MT

Pursuit of Happiness (He’s Friendly), Tinworks, Bozeman, MT

2020 Tired of Winning, Paintallica, Tinworks, Bozeman, MT

2019 Veteran Triannual, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL

Rat Trap Clay Club, National Council on the Education of Ceramic Arts, Minneapolis, MN 

2018 Visual Voices: Truth Narratives, Juried by Winnie Owens-Hart, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburg, PA 

Montana Triannual, Juried by Kevin Redstar, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT

Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA

2017   After Action Review, Solo Show, Target Gallery, Saint John’s University, St. Cloud, MN

Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA

We The People: Serving Notice, American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, CA

Charlie Foxtrot—LH Project Veteran Residents NCECA, The Cleaners Gallery, Portland, OR

2016 Art and Other Tactics: Contemporary Craft by Artist Veterans, San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, CA 

Art and Other Tactics: Contemporary Craft by Artist Veterans, Los Angeles Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Los Angeles, CA

Jesse Albrecht & Jessica Putnam-Phillips, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA

2015 Montana Triannual, Juried by Peter Held, Missoula Museum of Art, Missoula, MT

2014 Beer and Football, courtesy of Jay Schmidt, The Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

Paintallica, Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, IA

Soldier’s Point of View-Fighting for the Nation/An Uncertain Battlefield, National Museum of the United States Army, Arlington, VA

2012 Paintallica, P3 Studio, Cosmopolitan Casino, Las Vegas, NV

Book As Witness, The Artist’s Response, The Center For Book Arts, NYC

International Paper Biennial 2012, Museum Rijswijk, Rijswijk, The Netherlands, and Museum Meermanno/ Huis van het boek, Den Haag, The Netherlands 

2011 Paintallica/Adam Kimmel/Carhartt X, Barneys, New York City, NY

Public Collections

The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C.

The National Archives, A People’s History, 10 Years of IVAW, 700 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C. 

Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC

Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT

Thomas J. Watson Library, New York City, NY

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, collaboration with David Dunlap

The Smithsonian American Art Museum, collaboration with Ehren Tool, The Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C.

Harvard Fine Arts Library, collaboration with Brian Borchardt, Artist Book Collection, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Yale University, collaboration with Brian Borchardt, Haas Arts Library, New Haven, CT

Stanford University, with Brian Borchardt, Green Library, Special Collections, Stanford, CA

Residencies, Workshops & Lectures (selected)

2022 Veteran Panel & Project Space, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, Sacramento, CA

2018 Visual Voices, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, Pittsburg, PA, Panel

2017 St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, Artist Talk and Workshop

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA, Artist Talk and Workshop

Clay As Conduit, National Council on the Education of Ceramic Arts, Portland, OR, Panel

2015 LH Project, Joseph, OR, Residency & Lecture

              Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR, Workshop & Lecture

2014 The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, Workshop

LH Project, Joseph, OR, Residency & Lecture

Blue Mountain Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY, Residency

2013 LH Project, Joseph, OR, Residency & Lecture

2012 P3 Studio, Paintallica, Art Production Fund, Cosmopolitan Casino, Las Vegas, NV, Residency

2010 University of Iowa Center for the Book, Iowa City, IA, Combat Paper, Workshop & Lecture

Endicott College, Beverly, MA, Lecture

2009 School of Visual Arts, National Conference of Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists, Art of War, New York City, NY, Lecture

Kendal College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI, Lecture

Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI, Lecture

Ox Bow Institute, Saugatuck, MI, Workshop & Lecture

2008 Anamosa State Penitentiary, Anamosa, IA, Workshop

Bibliography (selected)

Aaron Rosen, “The Kiln Decides,” Yellowstone Art Museum, catalogue essay, April 2022

Leah Ollman, “Resistance in clay: Ceramic artists speak out against Trump, war and more in ‘We the People,’”  Los Angeles Times, Entertainment, 9/21/17

Craft in America, “Service,” PBS, Carol Sauvion, November 2014

Damaris Colhoun, “Art Grenade,” The Believer, 103rd Issue, November/December 2013

Eric Wilson, “Warning: Artists at Work,” The New York Times, Fashion & Style, 7/20/11

James Dao, “Voice on Phone Is Lifeline for Suicidal Veterans,” The New York Times, 7/31/10

Military Experience

2006 Honorable Discharge from Iowa Army National Guard

2004 Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2004); Emergency medicine Sargent, Alpha Company 109th Area Support Medical Battalion. Attached to HHC Division 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Mosul, Iraq

2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2004); Emergency medicine Sargent, Alpha Company 109th Area Support Medical Battalion. Attached to HHC Division 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Mosul, Iraq

2002 Combat Medic Course, Honor Graduate, Fort Sam Houston, TX

1997 Basic Combat Training and Cannon Crewmember Course, Fort Sill, OK