Coffee mugs represent a place of sentimental permanence. Mass produced and in the homes of practically everyone you know, coffee mugs are an interesting way to gain unique insight about an individual. As an object, they are a symptom of consumer culture and tradition. We buy them, drink from them, collect them and give them as gifts.
In a traditional sense, the technique and material used to craft mugs still remains the same. In studying ceramics, forming a vessel able to contain a liquid is traditionally one of the first skills a student will learn. The artist’s act of creating a mug is recognized as time consuming, personal, an investment. However, with the explosion of mass consumerism, the cute and kitsch mugs that look so unique in your own kitchen cabinets can actually be found by the cookie cutter dozen at the store. Popular culture, obsessed with ephemeral objects, exploits and capitalizes on the once unique artist crafted mugs. We are left with the significances of our traditional studio practices overshadowed.
This project showcases the artist and the mug as a unit. The show is located at LVL3’s temporary project space on the 15th floor of the Merchandise Mart. This project is also being held in conjunction with Chicago Artist Month. The theme this year focuses on the artist’s studio.
In this show, mugs are selected by each artist and displayed as a symbolic entity. This unconventional approach provides the viewer a glimpse of the artist through the artist’s representative mug — an object that is common to us all, but unique in its connection to the owner. While focusing on the artist, this show also provides a larger conversation on culture and tradition.
(text by: Nicolette Caldwell)
*presented in part with the Chicago Artist Coalition
Friday 22 October 2010
222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza