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Setting The Table: Designs in Mid-Century Dinnerware

Sunday, April 6, 2008 - Sunday, August 3, 2008

Price Tower Arts Center, 510 Dewey Avenue, Bartlesville, Oklahoma announces today that a newly curated exhibition, Setting the Table: Designs in Mid-Century Dinnerware, will be on public display Sunday, April 6 to August 3, 2008. The exhibition draws upon the shifts that happened in dining within the home between the 1940s and 1960s – from more formal environments to casual situations. It will explore the ways in which “ornament” changed, the way “style” changed, and the impact of technology (plastics, especially) upon the dining experience. This was the first generation where the middleclass enjoyed access to and consumed high design objects – it is when the shift happened from formal dining to casual dining, a luxury we all enjoy today.

Drawing from numerous national private collections, a variety of table settings – holiday formal, casual buffet, patio barbeque, and park picnic – will serve to display a wide selection of mid-century dinnerware, glassware, utensils, and serving pieces including those by national designers Russel Wright (1905-1976), Eva Zeisel (b. 1906), Edith Heath (1911-2005) and of special local interest - Frankoma Pottery and Frank Lloyd Wright's dinnerware. Tabletop objects will be accompanied by vintage linens, furnishings, and accessories as well as items such as contemporary advertisements, fashions, product catalogues, party invitations, etiquette books, etiquette films and artwork.

The content of the exhibition illustrates the importance of the era’s material culture and design history. The abundance of “mid-century” features in magazines and currently entire publications dedicated to the era; the resurgence of mid-century furnishings and knock-offs; and the minimalism of mid-century interiors and architecture are telling that this is a viable and “successful” style of design still seen in today's designs.

Many programs, including a Thursday night lecture series on topics such as consumerism, gender roles in the kitchen and the evolution of dinning begins May 1; a special Tupperware party fundraiser will take place on May 3rd; and Family Free Sundays every third Sunday of the month will provide free admission to Price Tower Arts Center's museum galleries during the exhibition's spring and summer run. Check out more Calendar of Events. Admission is $4 adults, $3 seniors, and free for students 16 and under and members of Price Tower Arts Center. To view a television interview with Scott Perkins, curator of the Dinnerware exhibition, click here.

This exhibition is organized by Price Tower Arts Center and presented by United Linen. Additional support is provided by ConocoPhillips, Career Employment Service Inc., Cliff's Flooring and Windows, Eva's Flowers, Joe and Sheryl Kaufman and the Price Tower Arts Center docents. This program is funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the We the People initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in Setting the Table: Designs in Mid-Century Dinnerware do not necessarily represent those of OHC or NEH.

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