Monday, February 21, 2011

Counter Space

I don't mean typographical counter space, like the space in "O." I mean a cool exhibit at MoMA about the kitchen. "Counter Space" is rich in interesting thoughts (the kitchen is a symbol of the heart of the home, or a symbol of oppression). On a practical note, it's the most dangerous room in the house.

Swiss Mister: Daniel Spoerri's 1960 art made from breakfast leftovers.

The centerpiece of the show is an example of the "Frankfurt Kitchen," designed in 1926–1927 by the architect Grete Schutte-Lihotsky and which transformed the lives of ordinary people. The small-but-dense exhibit has cool art and great fixtures, artefacts, and posters. Some of the videos are hilariously quaint. Some of the pieces brought back memories (a woman standing next to me pointed to a photo of a Tupperware party and said she gave parties and sold some of the items in the vitrines). And some of the promotional material was just plain hilarious. My personal favorites include an ad that shows two women in a kitchen, one of them wearing a snood. See the odd-shaped thingie to the right, circle in blue.

Posters are well represented, with a surprisingly-beautiful poster by Henry van de Velde which helped brand a new era of food products. Some of my faves are British posters from World War II, many of them featuring critters (naughty nibbling rats and fertile rabbits). One poster features a non-critter: The Vegetabull. The poster nods to Archimboldo (or should I say "ArchimBULLdo"). All of the British posters amaze me in their dealings with adversity. And a French poster for gas evokes the era of Cassandre.

"A vegetable dish made with dried eggs and household milk is as good as a joint." (Not THAT kind of joint!)

On the poster: "One rabbit has at least 12 young a year—45 lbs of meat—and it's off the ration!"

1 comment:

Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

What I've learned at MoMA and other museums is that it's always the shows that sound uninteresting that are going to have the best stuff!

It's like my theory of the yucky dessert: order the yuckiest sounding must be the best, otherwise it wouldn't have made it on the menu. NB: this does NOT work with entrees.