The Artful Teapot

Released September 29, 2005

SALEM, Mass.– The Artful Teapot: 20th–Century Expressions from the Kamm Collection is a fascinating look at how a single object––the teapot––has served as a creative vehicle for artists around the world. The 250 teapots in the Peabody Essex Museum exhibition include teapots by painters Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney, sculptors Arman and Michael Lucero, and ceramists Betty Woodman and Adrian Saxe, as well as works by more than 100 other artists. Organized thematically, this highly original exhibition demonstrates how the teapot can be provocative, playful, and profound as well as conventional. Addressing aesthetic, social, and political issues, The Artful Teapot examines the teapot’s ability to be more than just a device to serve tea.

The exhibition is organized by Exhibitions International, New York City, and curated by Garth Clark, a scholar/author of numerous books on ceramic art, and founder and current director of the Ceramic Arts Foundation (NYC). Karina Corrigan, the Peabody Essex Museum’s associate curator of Asian Export Art, is coordinating curator of The Artful Teapot. The exhibition opens Nov. 25, 2005, and runs through March 5, 2006, at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Please note: A media preview for The Artful Teapot will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005. For more information, please call 978-745-9500 x3228, or e-mail

The Artful Teapot is organized along the following themes:

Aesthetic Variables highlights the essential elements—form, materials and decoration—that engage the creator of a teapot and guide design choices.

Illusion & Allusion examines some of the themes most commonly explored by artists working with teapots––from human and animal forms to architecture and the natural world.

Tea for Art’s Sake takes us beyond the marvel of the teapot as a masterpiece in utility and function, to artists’ highly individual interpretations of the form.

More oblique aspects of the teapot form are also addressed: the practical and symbolic role of the teabag; how teapots tell stories either physically or metaphorically; and the varied ways and locations in which tea has been consumed.

The teapots on view are made from a wide range of materials, from fine porcelain to soda cans. Highlights include: Zoe Morrow’s Five on the Line teapot, which features dozens of U.S. $5 bills 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 evoking a gothic moonlit night; Cheryl Frances’s I’m a Little Teapot, a bright metal vessel made of doll parts, and Mark Burns’s G’s Affordable A, a 1950s-style teapot in the shape of a stylized male figure pointing to a tower of teapots resting on a cup. Also included is Michael Lucero’s Eye Ohr, a wheel-thrown glazed pair of teapots with one large green eye staring from the base of each; and 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 are part of Sonny and Gloria Kamm’s personal collection of more than 7,000 teapots. Working together to visit art galleries and art fairs, and commissioning artists to create their own interpretations of the object, the Kamms have put together the largest collection of teapots in the United States, perhaps in the world.

The exhibition features archival drawings, photographs, prints, 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 exhibition have been created within the last few decades, a selection of historical pieces representing the teapot’s 500-year history are also on display, giving a contextual basis to the contemporary works.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by curator Garth Clark.

The Artful Teapot: 20th–Century Expressions from the Kamm Collection is sponsored in part through generous support from the Hawthorne Hotel.


PR Contacts:

April Swieconek  -  Director of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3109  -

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

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