In the Studio: Irv Tepper



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Object Factory
Irv Tepper is part of the exhibition Object Factory: The Art of Industrial Ceramics. In this exhibition, he joins 50 other artists and designers, all working in ceramics to create pieces of art and functional objects.

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the collection
Irv Tepper is an obsessive collector of coffee cups, with a heavy emphasis on prosaic, greasy spoon kind of mugs and cups and saucers. You can see a small portion of the collection behind him.

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the original cup
It's the small cup on the back left, and it's pictured along with different generations of cup creations. The two large pieces are the pieces that are featured in Object Factory

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extreme closeup
You can use the zoomify app in our collections database to get a really close view of one of Irv's cups. Not surprisingly, the surface is amazingly complex and layered.

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Irving Tepper's sculptural work is a funny combination of whimsical and practical. His series of restaurant cups began more than 30 years ago, and it is all inspired by a single cup 'liberated' from the college dining hall. Since then, Tepper has continued to create work in sculpture and on paper inspired by that singular example as he has collected coffee cups that expand on the basic design vocabulary of the restaurant cup.

Today, his cups are less cups than sculptures inspired by cups, and MAD's exhibition Object Factory: The Art of Industrial Ceramics has two great examples. Tepper's work fits perfectly into this exhibition, whose central theme is the contemporary use of a very old material.

Object Factory: The Art of Industrial Ceramics is devoted to creative collaborations between contemporary designers and some of the world's oldest porcelain manfucturers. The exhibition is an international survey of how more than 50 artists and industrial designers are reviving an interest in and re-imagining the possibilities of this ancient medium in the 21st century. Unique collaborations between artists and long-established manufacturers are explored, like the pairing of Ted Muehling with Nymphemburg Porcelain and Patricia Urquiloa with Rosenthal AG. Both and functional and conceptual works are highlighted, along with important technological advances in ceramic material that allow for its use in electronic appliances, cutting implements, and other surprising products.

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