by Rachel Heidenry
For a delightful exhibition celebrating summer’s bounty, visit Heirloom at the Philadelphia Art Alliance between now and August 17th. Artist and designer Gregg Moore has taken over the first floor galleries with a show of ceramic objects – porcelain berry crates, bowls and kitchenware. The ceramics’ minimalist aesthetic is beautifully displayed, mimicking the simplicity of the white-walled gallery space.
Though intrinsically crafty, the exhibition is also whimsically philosophical – inviting viewers to consider questions about making, buying and eating. Central themes include authenticity, consumerism and sustainability. What is natural and what is artificial? What is mass-produced and what is original? Where is the human hand?
These ideas are further explored through a video projection that depicts a bird’s eye view of a dinner table – hands moving in and out of the frame – cutting food, passing bowls, pouring drinks. Rather than remain as aesthetic objects to be admired but never touched, the ceramics are activated, used, eaten on – the meal itself becoming a study of its objects. This activation is also realized in a table set with Moore’s signature dinnerware in the adjoining gallery on which visitors are invited to RSVP for a family-style meal prepared by chef Pierre Calmels of Le Chéri restaurant. Bridging craft, the farm-to-table movement and cross disciplinary collaboration, the exhibition harmonizes all the right elements to further legitimize its intent.
Between elegance, criticality and eating – Heirloom must be seen.
Heirloom is on view at the Philadelphia Art Alliance through August 17th.