Monday, November 29, 2010

Design and the Modern Kitchen

It's nice to extricate yourself from the routines of the day and actually dip into the awesomeness of what New York City has to offer. I was lucky enough to do so a couple weeks ago, when the hubby and I took on a late-day adventure to MOMA. Design and the Modern Kitchen is why we went, and it lived up to be a pretty great experience. (all photos shot with my iphone)

Irving Penn, David Shrigley
Based on the information I'd gathered from skimming MOMA's website, I thought I'd see more physical kitchen layouts and less art which made reference to the domestic bastion. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a range of products, politics, and even old film footage. Included were various examples of the earliest days of marketing, interesting (and graphically beautiful) propaganda pieces, and quirky and famous design objects, spanning 9 decades!

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.

Joe Steinmetz

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.

Jan Lewitt

George Him

L.N. Britton

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...

Abram Games

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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Everyone Has a Blog

Well, it's true. Which is why I resisted for as long as I could, thinking that because everyone else had one, it didn't serve me to hop on board into the vast and dark (scary?) space that is the blogosphere.... And then I realized I was wrong. The impact that sharing my own voice can have - that my personal sense within the world can be something fantastic to recount - is immense. It bowls me over, actually. I have witnessed this time and time again, and I hope to create enough worthy content that you all will become eager readers and a happy lifetime audience. Small aspirations I have.....

So after toiling away on some major projects of late, creating my very own blog was of course next on the list. :)

Thank you for reading, and for sharing in my experience!