Irvin Tepper: When Cups Speak Life with the Cup: A 25-Year Survey

August 09 - December 19, 2003

The Schein International Museum of Ceramic Art is proud to host Irvin Tepper: When Cups Speak/Life With the Cup: A 25-Year Survey beginning this summer. The traveling exhibition, organized by the Thompson Art Gallery at San Jose State University in California, features what Director Jo Farb Hernandez refers to as Irvin Tepper’s “exploration of the physical and conceptual idea of the coffee cup.”

Born in 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri, Tepper is currently a professor in the Fine Arts and Industrial Design departments at the Pratt Institute in New York. Tepper earned his bachelor of fine arts degree at the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri in 1969 and his master of fine arts degree in 1971 at the University of Washington in Seattle. As well as his more than 30 years working and teaching in ceramics, Tepper has explored several other media. Drawn from public and private collections, the exhibition will include Tepper’s ceramic and bronze cups, drawings and photographs of cups, as well as stories about cups. This 25-year overview examines Tepper’s fascination with the cup as it personally connects with each of us.

Tepper’s recent solo exhibitions include shows at Judy Ann Goldman Fine Art in Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C., and the Art Car Museum in Houston, as well as galleries in Michigan, Missouri, and several California venues. In recent years he has participated in group exhibitions at Franklin Parrish Gallery in New York City, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, the Mint Museum of Craft+Design in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the nationally traveling "Color and Fire - Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000," organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California. Tepper's work is in the permanent collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among many others.

A 134-page book accompanies the exhibition. This comprehensive look at "life with the cup" includes an interview with Tepper and also essays by noted art historians, curators, and critics. The book will be available for sale in the Museum or to order, visit our publications information.

Irvin Tepper: When Cups Speak/Life With the Cup: A 25-Year Survey is organized and circulated by The Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery in the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University. The exhibition was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Tepper Family Foundation, with additional funds provided by a California State University Research Funds Award; Kenneth A. Cowin; Dan and Jeanne Fauci; and Dotty and Arnold Tepper.

image of art graphite on paper

Irvin Tepper,
It's the Busy, Worrying Mind that
Keeps Us from Acting with Animal Grace,
1993, Graphite on paper,

H:42", W:32", Private Collection, Berkeley, CA
Photo by Irvin Tepper

image of porcelain art entitled dragon

Irvin Tepper, Dragon, 1992,
H:5.25", W:12", D:6.5"
courtesy of the artist.
Photo by Irvin Tepper

image of porcelain art entitled together forever

Irvin Tepper, Together Forever, 1999,
porcelain, H:9.5", W:15.25", D:9.5",
courtesy of the artist
Photo by Irvin Tepper

image of porcelain art entitled Buddies

Irvin Tepper, Buddies, 2001,
porcelain, H:8.25", W:7.5", D:8.25",
courtesy of the artist
Photo by Irvin Tepper