49. August 23 - December 15, 2013
Dear Carl, By (sic) Carrots, Love Mollie:
When Jewish Food was the Family Business
An audio-visual exhibition of artifacts, photographs and contemporary artwork
Guest Curator: Diane Pieri
In addition: Stirring the Pot - A Silent Auction that benefited the Temple Judea Museum in which artists re-imagined humble wooden kitchen spoons as unique works of art.
ORIGIN OF THE EXHIBITION: Original Framed Hand Written Note
"Dear Carl, By (sic) Carrots, Love Mollie", circa 1950s
Loaned by Diane Pieri (Mollie’s granddaughter)
This exhibition came about because of this note and the conversation it led to between two artist friends, Rita Rosen Poley and Diane Pieri. Upon discovering their similar upbringings among families immersed in Jewish food businesses they wanted to share their happy memories with a broad audience.
WHEN JEWISH FOOD WAS THE FAMILY BUSINESS: This exhibition offered a snapshot of just a few caterers, deli owners and bakers, primarily Mollie the Kosher Caterer, Betty the Caterer, and Rosen's Famous Baking Company. Family was (and is) central to these professionals, both in their pride in successfully serving their client families and in the loving involvement of their own families in their businesses. In addition, artifacts from very early 20th century home kitchens were displayed to contrast the difference between the convenience of kosher store bought food and the stark conditions of early kitchens. Finally, artists were invited to create works that reflected upon the exhibition themes and artifacts.
SETTING THE TABLE: Although this exhibition was about caterers and other Jewish food workers we began with a consideration of the act of family and friends around a table, breaking bread together. Displayed were photographs of people, across generations, coming together over Jewish food. One group attends a meeting of a Sholom Aleichem club, others celebrate holidays, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvot or cousin's clubs. They were arrayed over a work of art by artist Rachel Kanter that asks us to consider the Jewish food table as a small sanctuary – a Mikdash Me’at.
NOTE: A crafts event for kids was held. Guest curator, Diane Pieri led the student artists in decorating their own spoons.