Echo Park artist Peter Shire has drawn international attention for his whimsical metal sculptures and dramatic teapots. But Shire has long had a fascination with cups, transforming these utilitarian pieces of kitchen ware into ceramic and steel sculptures. But Shire’s fine art cups have always been overshadowed by his more widely known teapots. The cup, in Shire’s mind, may represent the individual but it’s hard to compete with a showy teapot. Now, that might change thanks to a Santa Monica gallery show devoted to nearly 30 years of ceramic and steel cups created by Shire. Why do teapots outshine cups? Shire, in the video above created for the exhibit, explains:
The cups are not as complex in their basic nature as the teapots … They have a single part, a handle and a cup. You lift, you drink. So I stayed with the teapots and did a lot of shows with them. Occasionally cups would be with them. I did cups but nobody ever really saw them.
An entire roomful of Shire cups – some rendered in drawings as well as metal and ceramic – awaits at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery, where they will be on display until June 9.