Exposed and Always Under Construction Formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art, wHY collaborated with…
Menus from the Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library
wHY was approached by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles to imagine what would be an appropriate context and “world” to exhibit objects from their unparalleled archive of historical LA menus.
By working closely with curator Josh Kun, we asked ourselves, “what is the right context to view a menu as an artifact or a piece of art?” Simply putting it on the wall behind glass seemed like a departure from a menu’s “natural habitat”, so the conceptual praxis for the project evolved as a seamless convergence of the various types of tables the menus would have been found: a banquet table, a lazy-susan, a diner booth, etc. This rendered what we called The Welcoming Table, a fun and exciting environment for users to interact both with the content and each other…truly an exciting and “strange place of elbowing!”
The wide range of menu types and ages brought to light the important topic of food justice, and shows how vintage menus can teach us about more than what is appetizing, by serving as guides to the politics, economics and sociology of eating.
Photography by Joshua White for the LAPL.