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Saddle Up To The Trough


Although this writer can’t cook to save his life, and is so picky about what he eats that it’s not much of a life worth living, he still appreciates food (looking at it) and the whole process that goes into the making of it. That’s why think it’d be a blast to hit up the upcoming new exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, “Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005.” The opening happens on Tuesday, May 2nd, from 3pm-5pm, and geez if we sure would like to be there (hint, hint, readers with private planes). Loads of terrific images here, and the pdf press release is here. And this, friends, is the scoop:

Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005,” on view May 5 – Oct. 29, 2006, is a rich, contextual journey through the evolution of dining from the Renaissance to the present. More than 300 objects will be on view, including historic and modern flatware from Cooper-Hewitt’s permanent collection. The exhibition offers a scholarly yet celebratory overview of the history of culinary culture, exploring the physical forms and social meanings of eating utensils and serving tools.

Objects will be organized according to a wide range of dining-related topics, such as the ergonomics of the table, commemorative flatware, and flatware as social commentary in the 20th and 21st centuries. The development of production methods, such as silver-plating, forging and gilding, and the role of new materials, such as stainless steel and Bakelite, will also be explored. In the main gallery of the exhibition, visitors will encounter a large circular table set with eight different historical place settings, each representing a specific decorative style.

A special section devoted to the 20th century will address themes such as the role of the designer, with pieces by Josef Hoffmann, Peter Behrens and Scandinavian designers such as Georg Jensen and Arne Jacobsen. Among the exhibition highlights is a collection of unusual specialized dining tools from the late 19th century, including silver ice cream hatchets, asparagus tongs and scallop forks.

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