Kristen Cliffel

The Dirty Dozen

(Akron, Ohio, 1967 - )


Low fire clay, glaze, lustre, wood and Lucite

32 x 23 x 23 in. (81.3 x 58.4 x 58.4 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of the artist in honor of Mitchell D. Kahan

2012.102 a-n

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Cliffel’s outsized chocolate-frosted pink cupcakes beckon us, promising delicious taste and the opportunity to indulge ourselves. Only on closer examination are we confronted by the questions outlined in icing such as 'What Was I Thinking?' and 'Can I Get a Do-Over?' These are pointed questions the artist asks herself. The Dirty Dozen is the culmination of a series of ceramic baked goods that Cliffel created as she directed her energies to making the best cupcakes and clay sculptures, while also seeking to be an outstanding wife, mother and artist. Cliffel, an accomplished baker, applies the wet clay to the sculptures’ surfaces using real pastry tubes. The provocative text, which reappears in many of her recent works, is used for the first time on this sculpture.

Text in art