Racine Art Museum Exhibition Investigates the Cup as an Art Form


Jessica Zalewski, Marketing and Publications Manager


Tyler Potter, Marketing Assistant


Wesley Anderegg
A Suite of Six Figurative Cups in Four Saucers (detail), ca. 1990
Glazed earthenware, wire, and plastic 
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Gail M. and Robert A. Brown 
Photography: Jon Bolton 

Opening January 27, 2021 at the Racine Art Museum (RAM), The Art of the Cup: Variations on Cups from RAM’s Collection features contemporary iterations of cup forms drawn from the museum’s permanent collection—sometimes as multiples within a set—that are made from clay, glass, and metal. This exhibition will be on display through August 7, 2021.

Disposable plastic cups notwithstanding, a cup has historically been defined as a bowl-shaped vessel for drinking, usually outfitted with a handle. While a cup can have social or cultural functions beyond practical use, such as a trophy or a vessel used within religious ceremonies, its primary historical roles have been functional—as a container of liquid. Cups, made of a variety of materials, have been unearthed in archaeological digs throughout the world.

Unlike the teapot, whose usage and meaning has been challenged or reframed repeatedly, the cup has not been the source of as many philosophical investigations within the field of contemporary craft. This does not mean it has been marginalized or avoided. In fact, handmade cups are ever popular as serving ware, and the cup as subject continues to be an organizing theme for numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums.

As demonstrated in this exhibition, contemporary makers—balancing the traditions of the past with those of the present—create cups that reflect their style and their interests. At times, these artists go further—exploring the idea of a cup as a symbolic or metaphoric vessel.

Exhibitions at Racine Art Museum are made possible by: Platinum Sponsors—Anonymous, Nicholas and Nancy Kurten, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, Windgate Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Administration; Diamond Sponsors—National Endowment for the Arts, Ruffo Family Foundation, Inc.; Gold Sponsors—Anonymous, David Charak, Tom and Irene Creecy, David Flegel, Herzfeld Foundation, Racine Community Foundation, Twin Disc, W.T. Walker Group, Inc.; Silver Sponsors—A.C. Buhler Family, Andis Foundation, Lucy G. Feller, Johnson Bank, Dorothy MacVicar, Real Racine, Trio Foundation of St. Louis, Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors—Andis Company, Virginia Buhler, Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research, Tom and Jane Devine, David and Ellen Easley, Educators Credit Union, Ben and Dawn Flegel, Fredrick and Deborah Ganaway, William A. Guenther, Tom and Sharon Harty, Andrea and Tony Hauser, Angela Jacobi, Bill Keland, Knight Barry Title Group, Eric Koopmeiners and Lena Vigna; Media Sponsor—Wisconsin Public Radio. 


Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture, and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

After temporarily closing its doors in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, RAM reopened to the public on Wednesday, August 5. RAM’s Wustum Museum of Fine Arts reopened on Wednesday, September 2. Both museums are operating with limited hours, open Wednesday through Saturday from Noon to 4:00 pm. Information regarding safety protocols and what to expect when visiting the museums are available on the RAM website, ramart.org.

2 thoughts on “Racine Art Museum Exhibition Investigates the Cup as an Art Form

  1. Good Morning Frank, I clicked on the Facebook link to be mailed a vol. 30 Art Dose Mag with surprise, because with covid considerations we haven’t been out and about to get one, yet. In fact, as a supporting artist, would you be able to mail perhaps a handful for my studio? That would be Much Appreciated.

    Hope to share blooms n’ blossoms, art and conversation, with you and Company again soon . . . . . .

    Best, Bonnita Budysz h (920)755-4641 / c (920)323-0681 / excelventures@charter.net / http://www.bonnitabudysz.com

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