Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500–2005

On View: 
Friday, May 5, 2006 to Sunday, October 29, 2006

Feeding Desire: Tools of the Table

A journey through the evolution of Western dining from the Renaissance to the present, Feeding Desire features objects from Cooper-Hewitt's world-class collections. The exhibition addresses the development of utensil forms, innovations in production and materials, etiquette, and flatware as social commentary. Explore the checkered history of the fork, long-considered an implement of the devil and not accepted into popular use until the 15th century. Learn how upper-class gentry in the 17th century took their own eating utensils with them when they traveled, as cutlery was not provided to dinner guests. And, of course, admire design details such as lavish handles of ivory and silver that often reflected themes of nature by employing twigs, leaves, or even lobster claws.

The exhibition was organized by Sarah D. Coffin, Curator of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Decorative Arts, Ellen Lupton, Curator of Contemporary Design, and guest curator Darra Goldstein, food historian and founding editor of Gastromonica Magazine.

Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500–2005 is sponsored by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Additional support is provided by Mr. John H. Bryan, Crate and Barrel, and The Felicia Fund.