Paper or plastic, porcelain or glass, dinnerware is rarely thought of as a culturally cataclysmic force, much less art. But the revolutionary designs of Forties, Fifties and Sixties dinnerware are being showcased, highlighting the cultural impact of mid-century dishes in an exhibit at Price Tower Arts Center, 510 Dewey Ave. in Bartlesville.
Transforming the at-home dining experience, tableware from the post-World War II era brought design and style to the masses. "Setting the Table: Designs in Mid-Century Dinnerware" displays a range of dinnerware, from handcrafted dishes and designer styles to mass-produced tableware and the first Tupperware sets.
Curator Scott Perkins said this exhibit focuses on humanities as much as art. Although design elements aren't often noticed, he said, the transformation from plain white porcelain plates to colorful dishes with elegant dimensions has had a tremendous impact on our lives.
"As children, one of our tasks or chores at home is to set the table and wash the dishes. Even from a young age, we are handling these objects but maybe not comprehending them," Perkins said. "This exhibition is really about going back in time a little bit and thinking about the ideas of this mass-produced dinnerware that has all sorts of patterns and shapes to it."
Featuring pieces from nationally recognized designers, the exhibit also includes vintage linens, furnishings, accessories and advertisements of the time.
The exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 3. For more information, call (918) 336-4949.