About The Artist
Preaching the values of absurdism, Peter Shire's work subversively investigates the spaces between fine art and industrial design. A lifelong Angeleno, Shire was born and raised in the L.A.'s Echo Park neighborhood and graduated from the region's storied Chouinard Art Institute in 1970. With imagination and decided playfulness, a young Shire sought to blend the ideological tenets of the Bauhaus with the material tradition of Southern California ceramic legends Peter Voulkos and Ken Price.
Shire opened his own studio in 1972, and, in 1974, created his first teapot model. He found the perhaps-unlikely form to be an expedient expression of familiarity with welcome opportunities to reference his own upbringing. Shire's early teapots caught the attention of Memphis Group founder Ettore Sottsass, and he was invited to Milan to work with the design team — becoming the only American member of the influential collective.
During his time with Memphis, Shire began to work with glass and metal and made forays into furniture composition. He continued to expand his practice upon his return to Los Angeles, experimenting with painting, drawing, and large-scale sculpture. Shire's notable public commissions include the Frank Glass and Grace E. Simons Memorial Sculpture at Angel's Point and installations at major Los Angeles transit stations; Shire was also part of the design team for the 1984 Olympics.
Today, Shire's consistent use of bold color and form continues to reflect the core Memphis Group mission of "revitalizing" design standards and unpacking the friction between industry and craft. Shire's work can be found in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many other distinguished national and international institutions.
"About." Peter Shire, petershirestudio.com/about/.
"Peter Shire." Kayne Griffin Corcoran, www.kaynegriffincorcoran.com/artists/peter-shire/bio.
Zeiger, Mimi. "Peter Shire: Teapots, Public Art, and a Life in Design." KCET, 7 July 2016, www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/peter-shire-teapots-public-art-and-a-life-in-design.