Peter Shire: Just ask around: AF Projects, Los Angeles

1 May - 30 June 2022

Peter Shire is an LA-based artist whose work eludes all attempts at categorization. He has created ceramics, furniture, toys, interior designs, and public sculptures, that seem to at once reference and parody influences such as Bauhaus, Futurism, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. This subversive humor and playfulness extend throughout his work and made him a natural fit for the controversial and iconic Milan-based Memphis design group, of which he was a founding member.

A graduate of the famous Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, Peter Shire has an impressive exhibition record. In addition to many group shows, his works have been exhibited in numerous solo shows, in his hometown, Los Angeles, nationally and internationally in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and Sapporo. Shire’s works are in many public collections and museums in the U.S. and abroad. Shire is represented by Kayne Griffin Corcoran.

Born in Los Angeles, in the Echo Park area where he still resides today, Shire is a native in a city that prides itself for the many cultures and languages it comprises. Shire recognizes the role his family had on both his social commitments and the development of his art. In particular, the artist acknowledges that his father’s concern with craftsmanship, with which he became familiar while working in his furniture design and manufacturer business, had a powerful impact on his later artistic views.

“The art world likes to categorize artists. When I think about my position in the art world, I realize it is extremely mobile because I include and cross over so many boundaries.”

Peter Shire’s overt dismissal of being defined by a label clearly acknowledges his concern with opening an aesthetic dialogue free of preconceived norms and ideas. A comprehensive and updated understanding of the arts is an essential attribute of his artistic vision.

“If Leonardo were alive today he would probably be working at Cape Canaveral” the artist stated in an interview. Rejecting the limitations imposed by specific fields and “proper” techniques, Shire has transgressed the orderliness of painting or sculpture traditionally defined as the “fine arts” and has included fields such as ceramics, furniture, and toys that have been consistently marginalized by the modernist discourse.

Shire does not reject the rich heritage of twentieth century art, however, his art dismisses a facile linear trajectory and replaces nostalgic connotations with eclectic playfulness and subtle irony. Shire has challenged the rigidity of modernist vocabulary and has boldly articulated a novel languages defined by an unexpected visual dialogue between forms and surfaces and between technology and aesthetics. It is precisely this aspect of his art that has established him as one of the essential contributors to the postmodern critical debate.

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