Peter Shire: Tea for Two Hundred

Project Room 1 Jan 19–Apr 3, 2013

Opening Reception: Friday, January 18
6 to 7 pm Members’ and Press Preview
7 to 9 pm Public Opening

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Peter Shire: Tea for Two Hundred
Jan 19–Apr 3, 2013





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Peter Shire, Cherry Blossom Pink, 2006, Earthenware, glazes, stainless Steel, 36 x 28 1/2 x 19 inches, Photo by Amy Stevenson
Peter Shire, Ken’s Party, 1991, Steel and polyester enamel, 28 x 32 x 11 in., Courtesy of the artist

Peter Shire: Tea for Two Hundred is an exhibition of giant teapots by the well-known Los Angeles artist Peter Shire, and showcases the artist’s career-long exploration with the teapot as form.

Tea for Two Hundred highlights eight large-scale teapots, ranging in height from two to six feet tall. These imaginative objects, made of clay, metal, wood, and found materials, are some of Shire’s most inventive works. They will be installed in a whimsical landscape – sparking the imagination with a playful dialog between the viewers’ bodies and the teapots.   

The teapot, an iconic form in the artist’s work, characterizes Shire’s spirited aesthetic and distinctive style. Throughout his career, he has continually reinvented the object, using it as an armature to experiment with material, scale, and function. Shire’s teapots resist categorization and are charming, unwieldy, and fitful in their usefulness and uselessness. The artist’s singular style encompasses both international and local perspectives, with roots in the Milan-based Memphis group combined with the multitude of influences he has absorbed from living and working in Los Angeles.

Shire was a friend and peer of Miriam Wosk, whose first museum survey, Abundance and Devotion, is on view concurrently in SMMoA’s Main Gallery. Shire’s work is in Wosk’s collection, and one of the extraordinary teapots she owned will be included in Tea for Two Hundred. The parallel presentation of the two artists’ work speaks to the inspiration and local community they shared working in the realms of art and design.

Tea for Two Hundred is organized by Elsa Longhauser, executive director of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

This exhibition was made possible by SMMoA’s Ambassador Circle. Additional support was provided by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

About the artist:
Born in 1947 and based in Echo Park, Los Angeles, Peter Shire is a fixture in the Los Angeles art community. He is a multi-talented artist who works at the intersection of fine art, craft, and industrial design. One of the original members of the Memphis group, Shire was also influenced by Southern California ceramicists Peter Voulkos and Ken Price. Shire’s work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.