Dec 7 2018 – Dec 6 2020
Seattle Art Museum
Fourth Floor Galleries
Get a new perspective on SAM’s popular Porcelain Room through the site-specific work of contemporary British ceramic artist Claire Partington. Taking Tea features an installation referencing Baroque painting and European porcelain factories, as well as a panel mounted with fragments from 17th- and 18th-century shipwrecks. The Porcelain Room is a SAM favorite for visitors with more than 1,000 European and Asian porcelain pieces from SAM's collection grouped to evoke porcelain as a treasured commodity between the East and the West.
Claire Partington reappraises the narrative histories of the porcelain objects. Her figures engaged in the act of “taking tea” give a human face to the European craze for Chinese porcelain on display in the Porcelain Room. Partington’s installation suggests the often unintentional consequences of the porcelain trade during the expansion of international shipping routes. The figures in the installation are steeped in the rarified luxury and high-end fashion these items once conveyed, but they also expose the degrading aspects of trade—the reality of precarious ocean voyages and human exploitation.
ArtsFund/Guendolen Carkeek Plestcheeff Fund for the Decorative and Design Arts