Published: November 23, 2010
“Eat Drink Art Design: Trailblazing Tableware from the MAD Collection,” being presented by the Museum of Arts and Design through March 27, showcases tableware †cups, plates, silverware, tea sets †that redefines the art of dining. Drawn largely from the museum’s collection, the exhibition features 60 aesthetically delectable pieces from beautifully handcrafted midcentury pots to elegant flatware and goblets to more conceptual works by artists who use the familiarity of tableware as a frame for contemporary issues.
The show is organized in four parts. “Eat” looks at functional tableware, such as the Japanese company Wasara’s simple, yet elegant, eco-friendly and disposable tableware, manufactured out of the pulp of reed, bamboo and bagasse (a byproduct of the sugarcane industry); “Drink” examines drinking vessels of all kinds, including a very rare spiral-shaped wine bottle created by glass master Dale Chihuly.
“Art” investigates how artists have used tableware as a canvas or font of inspiration, as in Cindy Sherman’s Louis XV-style porcelain tea set, in which she is pictured in the costume of Madame de Pompadour; and “Design” shows how contemporary designers are rethinking tableware in new works, such as the Boym Partners’ “Still Life Table” from its Ultimate Art Furniture series, which uses found paintings as part of the furniture.
“The designers and artists in this exhibition have taken very familiar objects and transformed them in ways that are both beautiful and unexpected,” said associate curator Jennifer Scanlan. She cited designer Peter Ting’s installation of plates decorated with decals from the Royal Crown Derby Factory as one of the exhibition highlights.
“This installation recalls elaborate table settings for the opulent feasts of the Eighteenth Century, while at the same time showing a very fresh and contemporary approach to design,” said Scanlan. The installation is accompanied by a video that shows the designer’s collaboration with the artisans at Royal Crown Derby.
The Museum of Arts And Design is at 2 Columbus Circle. For more information, www.madmuseum.org or 212-299-7777.
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