Aesthetics of Everyday Objects: The Cup is on view at ATLA, Los Angeles
January 13 – February 10, 2024
Aesthetics of Everyday Objects: The Cup emerges at a time when seasonal shows around domestic objects are ubiquitous and ceaselessly flirt with the standardized idea of a simple form with a determined function. There’s no doubt that to this day, when uttering the words “ceramic” and “clay,” images of pottery in various pastels pop up in one’s mind, and the potential of a cup being “sculptural”, “painterly,” or “conceptual” erases itself from possibility.
What emerges in response is a 39-person group exhibition highlighting the works of painters, sculptors, mixed-media artists, designers, and ceramicists. Aesthetics of Everyday Objects: The Cup serves as a distinctive disruption from its stereotype, and is built upon the legacy of Betty Asher (1914–94), a renowned Los Angeles curator, collector, and dealer. Credited for being one of the first people to collect Pop Art, and for driving Los Angeles’s cultural scene, Asher simultaneously fulfilled her thirst for inventive works through the inclusion of ceramics and elevated its place from the domestic, at a time when prejudices against the medium were at an all-time high.
An early supporter of Ken Price, Asher invited the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Philip Guston, and Claes Oldenburg (to name just a few) to take on the idea of a cup and/or a teacup— asking them to dream within their own artistic language and reimagine this humble form. With over 150 works by various artists that Asher admired, including Ron Nagle, Betty Woodman, and Akio Takamori, many of which now live within LACMA’s permanent collection after her passing, ATLA picks up the conversation roughly 50 years later.
For the catalogue, Andres Payan Estrada has written a romantic eulogy from a place of being both an artist and curator. A vantage point that bridges the historical and the personal, Estrada’s uniquely poetic perspective holds one’s hand through a journey of object ontology, object–subject dynamics, and metaphoric accounts of the object as tool. With a strong focus on contemporary craft within both of his practices, he currently serves as the Director of Public Engagement at Craft Contemporary here in Los Angeles.
It is through ATLA’s collective gathering of contemporary voices that a newfound celebration of a cup as an intellectual pursuit can act as a conduit for the more present day practices we see reflected within this group. The unmistakable symbolism of the cup reimagined through a contemporary lens uniquely blurs the class-bound distinctions between the realms of craft, design, and contemporary art. It is hoped that the current wave of exaltation around this medium can continue to push the bounds of what we know into what we do not. Only then can real innovation begin to stir our imaginations and perhaps ignite something within us that has been lying dormant.
Text by Jenny Hata Blumenfield
Adam Shiverdecker, Akihide Nakao, Amia Yokoyama, Anabel Juarez, Astrid Terrazas, Ben Medansky, BZIPPY, Cammi Climaco, Chelsey Pettyjohn, Erik Otsea, Eun-Ha Paek, Graham Marks, Grant Levy-Lucero, Jackie Rines, Jay Kvapil, Jennie Jieun Lee, Jose Sierra, Julia Haft-Candell, Julia M Kunin, Kiyoshi Kaneshiro, Kristen Morgin, Lizette Hernandez, Mustafa Ali Clayton, Nicki Green, Olive Diamond, Peter Shire, Phyllis Green, Roger Herman, Roksana Pirouzmand, Ricca Okano, Ryan Flores, Shdopp (A Michael Dopp + Shoshi Watanabe Collaboration), Stanley Edmonson, Tâm Van Tran, Taylor Kibby, Teekay Tamarappoo, The Perfect Nothing Catalog, Vamba Bility, Zimra Beiner
1545 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026