The Arts of the Table in Postwar America


Fall 2013


3rd Floor Object Lab


Tom Tredway

This course examines the arts of the table and spaces used for dining in America from 1945 to the present. We will explore the ceramics, metalwork, glassware, textiles, furniture, table decorations, and interior spaces used for dining along with their broader cultural and social contexts. We will study the theories, practices, and designs of important postwar modern designers including Russell Wright, Eva Zeisel, Ben Seibel, Raymond Loewy, and Charles and Ray Eames. We will explore the concept of timelessness and the role of historicism and period modern in designs for the table through important producers and retailers like Tiffany & Co. and spaces for dining by decorators like Billy Baldwin and Albert Hadley. The Postmodern table and the contemporary table will be investigated through architect designers including Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, and Robert A. M. Stern and through firms like Knoll and SwidPowell. We will also take a thematic approach and look at everyday dining, dining and transportation, and dining in public venues. This course allows students to explore their own interests through a variety of short assignments, presentations, ethnographies, analyses of primary sources and objects, and a research project.  3 credits.