“Kitchen” at the Whitney

by grace on January 11, 2020

My favorite thing at the Whitney Museum. mom and i had both seen a photo of this work in the New Yorker. A kitchen made of beads!

this is the best wide shot i took, except i caught part of a woman who was standing in the way over in the right. but after a lot of painstaking photoshopping i thoroughly erased her, whew.

It was even more dazzling in real life. I want one!

Here’s what they say about it on the Whitney website:

A full-scale and exactingly detailed kitchen encrusted in a rainbow of glistening beads, Liza Lou’s monumental installation took five years to make. After researching kitchen design manuals as well as historical tracts about the lives of nineteenth-century women, Lou made drawings and three-dimensional models to achieve a loose outline of Kitchen’s floor plan. She then fashioned the objects out of paper mâché, painted them, and applied the beads in a mosaic of surface pattern. This work, in Lou’s words, “argues for the dignity of labor”—a labor that here manifests as process and subject alike, and which is linked to gender, since crafts and kitchen work are traditionally female domains. Kitchen might also be read as a commentary on American life—even the American dream—with its ubiquitous products (Tide and Cap’N Crunch), aspirations (glittery surfaces and suburban assimilation), and realities (dishes in the sink and other kitchen drudgery).

I’m not sure why she researched 19th century women because the kitchen looks very 20th century to me. She spent five years making it!

I took lots of close ups and i’m including them here because, like i said, i love it.

This is the poem by Emily Dickinson on the side of the stove: “She rose to his Requirement/Dropped the playthings of her life/To take the honorable work/Of woman and of wife”

The curtains! The dishes in the sink and the water splashing into the sink! the Joy and the Comet!

Here’s the description of the piece that was next to it.

hmm, if you read all that…i don’t feel like ironically reading the bottle of Joy. i just love it! and i guess it’s supposed to be a biting critique, but to me, it’s just pure fabulousness. I love it that it says “yum” under the cereal in the bowl even though we can’t see it.

looking carefully at these photos now i wish i’d taken even more. see how there are eyes with eyelashes on the mixer below? plus the cookbook.

i love it that the toaster is called “toaster.”

i love the grocery list and the dish cloth draped over the fridge handle.

my attempt at a panorama.

I just read a relatively short and interesting article in Daily Art Magazine online about liza Lou – she lived in South Africa, and she has an even bigger work of art called “Backyard in 1999.” She also has a new work called “clouds” which doesn’t look as fabulous to me, at least not viewing it on the computer. She lives in LA now.

i took pictures of even more stuff at the Whitney but i’m going to leave it right here because none of them came close to this one.

and i’m about to wrap up our trip, which happened in the last decade. time to move into the roaring ’20s!

ok then,

g.

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