Joan Bankemper, American, born 1959. Pimlico, 2018. Manufactured and cast porcelain, 41 1/2 × 37 × 10 in. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment 2018.56

Steeped in Tradition

October 23, 2021 - March 20, 2022

Harris - Burger Gallery

After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world and it plays a profound role in many cultures. Over 2 billion cups are consumed per day worldwide. Because of this, teaware—objects related to the consumption of tea—has been a popular outlet for artistic expression. This exhibition includes contemporary teapots, tea bowls, cups and saucers and other tea-related objects from the museum’s permanent collection. Whether they are intended to be fully functional, ornamental, or somewhere in between, these artworks showcase the endless possibilities for creativity in teaware.

Teapots (along with other teaware in this exhibition) can hold clues to history, cultural and societal practices, identity, and self-expression. Many contemporary artists are drawn to them not only for their important place in the history of ceramics but also for the technical challenge. Making a teapot requires mastery of many techniques and is somewhat a rite of passage for many artists working in clay. Elements like the handle can be handbuilt, one of the oldest techniques for working with clay, while the body and spout could be produced on the potter’s wheel, all of which takes practice and skill. While some artists prefer to create functional teapots, others adapt the form with no intention of it ever being used.

From the Exhibition

  • Margo West, American. Sugar and Creamer, n.d. Ceramic, 3 3/4 × 7 1/2 × 5 1/2 in. Gift of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger 2011.8

  • Chris Arensdorf, American, born 1957. Cup and Saucer, n.d. Porcelain, 3 7/8 × 6 5/8 in. Gift of Sidney Swidler 2017.110

  • Robert Fornell, American. Teapot, n.d. Ceramic, 7 1/16 × 7 9/16 in. Gift of Sidney Swidler. 2017.148

  • Mary Ann Clark, American. Teapot and Stand, n.d. Ceramic, 4 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. Gift of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger 2009.138

  • Karen Orsillo, American, born 1952. Nerikomi Cup, n.d. Porcelain, 4 x 23/4 x 27/8 inches. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.96

  • Craig Hinshaw, American, born 1950. Untitled (Rat with Cookie), 1977. Stained and lustered stoneware, 83/4 × 53/4 × 33/4 inches. Museum purchase, 1977.9