Racine, Wisconsin- Many of the exhibitions at Racine Art Museum in 2017 continue the 75th anniversary celebration of RAM’s Wustum Museum. Wustum originated with a gift of property and a trust from the estate of Jennie E. Wustum. Her donation created a cultural center in Racine and established a tradition of women philanthropists. Open through July 9, 2017, Variations on a Theme: Teapots from RAM’s Collection, celebrates the museum’s holdings that were launched by a pivotal gift of teapots from one such donor.
In 1999, collector Donna Moog offered RAM a gift of over 250 teapots, representing a large body of work by diverse artists in a range of styles. Since this gift, RAM has added over 100 teapots from other donors, establishing one of the largest public collections of contemporary artist-made teapots in the United States.
Over the years, numerous examples have been displayed, created, or both at Wustum and RAM. The teapot, an object rich with history and meaning, has been utilized–as form and subject–by contemporary artists interested in exploring tradition, design, use, and all manner of content.
While the teapot as a functional object can be traced back about 800 years to China, the form is familiar in Western Europe and the United States. As the teapot became connected to status and luxury via trade centuries ago, Western manufacture began in earnest. Most of the earliest teapots were metal, yet within the context of contemporary craft, most are associated with ceramics. RAM’s holdings include teapots made in a variety of materials, yet those made of clay are the most numerous.
Visitors are invited to Racine Art Museum vote for their favorite teapot in the exhibition. At the close of the show, the top winners will stay on display for a longer period of time.
This exhibition is made possible by: Platinum Sponsors – Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, SC Johnson, Windgate Charitable Foundation; Diamond Sponsor: Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation; Gold Sponsors – Herzfeld Foundation, Johnson Bank, National Endowment for the Arts, Racine Community Foundation, W. T. Walker Group, Inc.; Silver Sponsors – Andis Foundation, Real Racine, Runzheimer International Ltd., United Way Racine County, Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors – Burlington Graphic Systems, Inc., CNH Industrial, EC Styberg Foundation, Educators Credit Union, In Sink Erator, The Norbell Foundation, Orkney Springs Retreat, Rasmussen Diamonds, Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild, Wisconsin Public Radio.