2012 – Tre Venezia and Cassata

Tre Venezia and Cassata

The 2012 Selections

The Unveiling

With a Sister Piece

Peter Shire

Artist Insights

Trustees of the Public Art Endowment voted to bring Peter Shire’s whimsical sculpture Tre Venezia to Greensboro. As a surprise, Peter also let us borrow its sister piece, Cassata!


Tre Venezia and Cassata, created in 2008, are both made of stainless steel and polyester enamel. They have been installed on adjacent parcels on property surrounding the Greensboro Cultural Center and Café Europa restaurant on North Davie Street in downtown Greensboro.

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.

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.

“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,” said visual arts professor Dr. Irina Costache of Loyola University.

“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,” she added.

“If Leonardo were alive today he would probably be working at Cape Canaveral,” Shire said 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,” Costache pointed out.

“Shire does not reject the rich heritage of twentieth century art, and references to Bauhaus, Futurism, Art Nouveau or Art Deco are to be ground throughout his work,” she said. “However, his art dismisses a facile linear trajectory and replaces nostalgic connotations with eclectic playfulness and subtle irony. One of the original members of the Milan-based Memphis group, 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.”

For more information, visit petershirestudio.com