|Irving Penn, David Shrigley|
The exhibit explores the kitchen as it enters the glorious industrialized era. This, in the worldwide realm, as much as from the American point-of-view. I found it semi-ironic (because I love being in my own kitchen cooking up all kinds of crazy & fun things, while also considering myself pretty liberated and cosmopolitan, like most contemporary women) to see the prevalence of women in THEIR element. In many instances, alien or cumbersome contraptions seemed effortlessly - or so the picture stills would have you believe - handled by thin, prim, blond young ladies..... a bit surreal. Anyone in a kitchen ad has always served as the archtype to aspire to, but seeing these photos of past gadget/design promotions, all too consumeristic and a bit too perfect, made me a little prickly inside.
I found the propaganda pieces particularly interesting. The U.S. did at one point widely promote certain virtues (during times of war) like raising your own food, being thrift-minded, and having a vegetable-rich diet.
There was a sense of consciousness in this portion of the exhibit that appealed to me, albeit for different reasons than was urged then. I find that these values speak to a worldwide community, which is increasingly important if we're all to survive on this precious and delicate planet (yes, I'm wrapped up in food politics, but how can you not be in this time of being alive?) These propaganda pieces also threaded into them the contemporary foodie communities cropping up everywhere: that someone who loves truly good food is intrinsically tied to eating local, whole food diets, and embodies an overall principle of frugality and resourcefulness (nose-to-tail eating, anyone?) Never mind that it just tastes better...
There were implements on display from various points in history, whether appropriate to industrial or home kitchens. I had to laugh at seeing my own pots and pans in a glass vitrine - remarkable and humerous....
Funny also to see the first incarnations of tupperware - those clouded and weathered, round plastic shapes, lit by important spotlights. Seeing these juxtaposed with more overtly "beautiful" objects was an indication of where we have been, a testament certainly to design, as well as the utility of *stuff* in the kitchen realm.
I would highly recommend this show to anyone. It is viewable until March 14, 2011.