The Big Idea
At the Table
Kitchen as Home
December 21 - March 1, 2019
For many of us, the kitchen plays a part in our earliest memories—memories that are multi-sensual, bringing taste and smell together with our visual recollections of the spaces in which our families gathered. We often recreate our childhood memories of the kitchen as adults, cooking from recipes our parents used, buying the same foods that lined our childhood shelves, or serving meals on dishes inherited from grandparents. The BIG IDEA project At the Table: Kitchen as Home considers the central role of the kitchen in shaping our memories, our families and our social lives. Kitchens are spaces of ritual—places for the preparation of food as well as its sharing. We come together in kitchens to cook and to eat, to share in conversation, to do homework, to plant small gardens or make art, to entertain friends and family. Kitchens can be places for culinary creativity and experimentation, but they also offer the security of repetition—the pot of coffee prepared the same way every morning or the meal thrown together by rote. A kitchen’s contents reflect its occupants’ tastes and habits: a peek into someone’s refrigerator, pantry or utensil drawer offers insights into how they live and how they nourish themselves. At their best, kitchens are places of comfort. They offer the opportunity to connect to our past through the making and sharing of food with those we care for in the present.
The BIG IDEA project At the Table: Kitchen as Home is generously supported by Ali Long.
View Exhibition Photo Gallery
Abby Carter spent several years volunteering in a soup kitchen in Connecticut. She got to know its patrons and began making portraits of the many different people for whom the soup kitchen was a vital resource. The exhibition includes a selection of her portraits, some offering views of the interior of the soup kitchen as well as its guests.
Illustrator Ferris Cook has made a series of drawings of individual kitchen objects: an espresso maker, a toaster, a spoon. Her elegant pencil drawings depict the cherished tools we turn to when preparing our food. They are paired with an installation of kitchen objects on loan from residents of the Wood River Valley.
Benny Fountain has produced a number of paintings that marry the interior of the kitchen in a house he once owned in Portland, Oregon, with views through a window to the northern Idaho landscapes of his childhood. His paintings underline the connection between kitchens and our memories of place.
Julie Green’s painting practice has long addressed themes of food and the domestic. The Center commissioned Green to spend time in residence at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Hailey, making work in response to the history of the house. In Hailey, Green produced several large paintings on Tyvek inspired by plates and platters she encountered in the house as well as the life of one of its most prominent occupants, Roberta McKercher. The exhibition pairs these new works with Green’s An Embarrassment of Dishes, a Noritake dinner service for 12 inherited from her grandmother that she painted and inscribed with stories from her youth.
MK Guth has produced a number of sculptures that combine books, objects and written instructions for different kinds of events that involve the preparation and sharing of food and drink. The exhibition includes two sculptures, Dinner for Remembering and Dinner to Plan a Revolution. Her works invite viewers to consider the ways that shared meals can be transformative experiences.
Following the birth of her first child, Joan Linder began making daily drawings of her kitchen sink “brimming with dishes, recently washed, or practically untouched.” The drawings capture the accumulation of plates and cups, cleaning supplies and cooking ingredients that result from meals prepared and enjoyed. They convey the passage of time in the kitchen, where labor repeats itself in a daily cycle.