Anomalies and Curiosities of Dinnerware

Margaret Carney, PhD, Director
The International Museum of Dinnerware Design

Does a discussion about dinnerware just include the work of either skilled potters or gifted designers? When beauty and function intersect with a certain type of (possibly twisted) visionary genius, anomalies and curiosities of dinnerware are created.  Illustrative of the short list of 20th and 21st century artists who took standard plates, cups and saucers, place settings, and teapots, and elevated each to the level of an anomaly and curiosity and perhaps a masterpiece never to be forgotten, includes (but is not limited to), surrealist Meret Openheim, Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, modernist Constantin Brancusi, feminist artist Judy Chicago, conceptual artist Howard Kottler, photographer Cindy Sherman, noted artist and epicure Kitaoji Rosanjin, and contemporary artists such as Katie Parker, Guy Michael Davis, and Dirk Staschke. This wild and creative genius can also be seen when examining the works of well-known companies that produced basic dishes and then went one step further to produce memorable, even unforgettable tureens, teapots and sauce boats, such as Meissen, Minton, and Wedgwood. Through the imagery and stories shared in this presentation, the audience will witness inspirational makers, mentors and milestones.

Margaret Carney is a ceramic historian with Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in Asian art history, and a B.A. in anthropology/archaeology. Dr. Carney is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and an elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics in Switzerland. Grants received include Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art and the Renwick Gallery, as well as from the Tile Heritage Foundation and the Cumming Ceramic Research Foundation.

She served as the founding director of the Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred, in Alfred, New York. She has curated 50 exhibitions, presented over 100 public lectures, and authored 80 books, catalogues, and journal articles. She has taught ceramic world history, as well as other courses, at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, the Ohio State University, and elsewhere. She was director and curator of the Blair Museum of Lithophanes in Toledo, Ohio, for nine years, writing the first book on the topic in 180 years. She currently serves as founding director and curator of the International Museum of Dinnerware Design (IMoDD), Ann Arbor, Michicago, which was established in 2012.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts
900 N. North Branch Street, Chicago
(West of Halsted Street, North of Chicago Avenue)
Free Parking in the student lot across the street, not in front, please!
Cost: $3. Free to Kendall students and faculty with ID.

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve, please e-mail:


Timeless Dinnerware Design exhibit at SOFA
(Sculpture objects functional art and design),
Navy Pier, November 2-5,

The International Museum of Dinnerware Design in Ann Arbor, Michigan, celebrates a significant aspect of our daily lives through its collections, exhibitions and educational programming, which provide a window on the multitude of cultural and societal attitudes toward food and dining and commemorates the objects which exalt and venerate the dining experience.

Timeless Dinnerware Design, a special exhibition for SOFA Chicago 2017, focuses on dinnerware created since the 1930s; each object or set, a masterpiece in dinnerware design that has proven to be lasting, classical and eternal and exudes timelessness in its presentation – work that captures our imagination whether it is futuristic, nostalgic, or of the moment. Curated from the permanent collection, the exhibition is a sample visual exploration of dinnerware designed during the last 100 years. Some were intended to adorn our fine tabletops for all eternity, and other were created to be less permanent, despite attractive qualities and design success and accolades galore.