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"The Artful Teapot: 20th Century Expressions from the Kamm Collection"
2005-11-25 until 2005-03-05
Peabody Essex Museum
Salem, MA, USA United States of America

The Artful Teapot: 20th Century Expressions from the Kamm Collection explores the teapot - a nearly universal domestic item - as a vehicle for artistic expression. This comprehensive and highly original exhibition features 250 teapots by over 100 internationally known artists, including Michael Graves, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, George E. Ohr, Cindy Sherman, and Beatrice Wood. The exhibition opens Nov. 25, 2005 and runs through March 5, 2006 at the Peabody Essex Museum.

The Artful Teapot demonstrates how the teapot can be provocative, playful, and profound as well as conventional. Addressing aesthetic, social, and political issues, the exhibition examines the teapot's ability to be more than just a device to serve tea.

The exhibition provides a comprehensive view of the contemporary teapot to date, featuring works in a multitude of forms, including human, animal, vegetable, and even architectural. The teapots on view are made from a wide range of materials from fine porcelain to bottle caps. Highlights include Zoe Morrow's Five on the Line teapot, which features dozens of US $5 bills shredded and woven into the shape of a teapot; David Gignac's Celestial Teapot, in which a white, hand- blown glass orb sits atop forged steel branches simulating a moonlit night; and, David Gilhooly's Oreo and Frog Teapot, which is a basic black earthenware teapot that has life-like frogs crawling up through cookies to escape the teapot's lid. Also included is Resurrection of a Broken Teapot, a striking sculpture by Laszlo Fekete that depicts distressed stoneware hands holding up a pristine porcelain teapot.

All of the works in the exhibition have been selected from the celebrated collection of Sonny and Gloria Kamm's personal trove of more than 7,500 teapots. Visiting art galleries and art fairs and commissioning artists to create their own interpretations of the object, the Kamms have together amassed the largest collection of teapots in the United States, possibly the world.

Curator Garth Clark, scholar and author of numerous books on ceramic art, has chosen teapots from the Kamm's collection that both illustrate the beauty and power of the form and stand independently as works of art. Clark is the founder and current director of the Ceramic Arts Foundation (NYC). The exhibition features drawings, photographs, and a video that documents the history of the teapot and the arrival of tea in the West. While many of the teapots featured in The Artful Teapot have been created within the last few decades, a selection of historical pieces representing the teapot's 400-year history are also on display, giving a contextual basis to the contemporary works.

David Gignac
Celestial Teapot, 1999

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