Meret Oppenheim. Object. Paris, 1936

Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, Cup 4 3/8" (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8" (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8" (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8" (7.3 cm). Purchase. © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Pro Litteris, Zurich

Director, Glenn Lowry: Artist Jenny Holzer spoke about Meret Oppenheim's Object in 1988 at The Museum of Modern Art.

Jenny Holzer: This is an everyday object, but its also an otherworldly thing. It's sinister. It seems like a cup that could fight back. I suppose fur implies teeth, and so the cup could bite you, and I also like that its repulsive. When youre eating, there is nothing more disgusting than when you get hair in your mouth. I like that the fur would be a way to muffle sound. It's like she killed off the chit chat part of the tea ceremony. I think that it basically tells you that life is not what it seems.

Curator, Anne Umland: I think Jenny Holzer's quote touches on so many things that have contributed to the enduring fascination that this diminutive object has held for generations now. Created in 1936 in Paris it has a title bestowed upon it by André Bréton, the high pope of Surrealism, who called it "the lunch in fur."

Apparently purchased at a Paris department store, the teacup was then lined with the pelt of a Chinese gazelle. This whole notion about animating the inanimate, of something thats very familiar, safe, comfortingthat you normally encounter in a domestic situation, then like in a bad dream sprouts fur, and becomes this other, this thingis key to the way the piece works. It brings together bizarre, erotic, poetic connotations that are completely foreign, normally, to your prosaic teacup and saucer. This object reverses all sorts of expectations.