Saturday, September 29, 2012

The New England Clambake (Cooked on the Beach) - A Grand Tradition!

Today -
Traditional Beach Side
New England Clambakes
are Few and Far Between!
(A photo essay by Jack A. Atkinson & friends) 

This month my family was lucky enough to attend a classic New England Clambake, organized by Forest Lowry and his cousin Dan Clark, on their private beach in Connecticut. It was orchestrated to celebrate a fabulous late summer wedding.

The New England clambake is an old and traditional method of cooking lobster and quahogs (hard clams), supplemented by sausages, potatoes, and corn-on-the-cob. Traditional clambakes are usually held on festive occasions in New Englandin communities along the coastline.

The harvested seaweed.

A typical clambake begins with gathering seaweed at the shoreline and placed in a tarp; the seaweed is an important part to steaming this food. To keep the seaweed fresh, it is necessary to have some containers to re-wet the seaweed with sea water before placing in the pit.

A huge amount of wood is needed to build the fire.

With stones in place the wood is placed over them in the pit.

Forest Lowry (with shovels) knows the process, does the hard work and
creates the magic of this New England Clambake!

Once the stones and seaweed have been collected, a fire pit is prepared in the sand, then lined with the stones. A wood fire is started in the pit, on top of the stones.

Tools of the trade for a New England Clambake.
This fire must burn until it becomes only embers and ash and the stones are glowing hot. The ashes are usually raked between the stones to form an insulating "bed" and a layer of wet seaweed is placed over the stones, followed by the food: clams; corn; potatoes; sausage; and lobsters. The whole meal is cooked at the same time. 

Wet seaweed is placed over the hot stones and coals.

The food is carefully placed in the pit.

The last of the lobsters are placed on the seaweed. It took 125 lobsters to fill this pit.

To help with the steaming, another layer of seaweed is placed on top of the food and the entire mound is covered with wet canvas, that has been drenched in sea water to seal in the heat. 

Covering the food with seaweed.

Lastly, as in all methods of steaming, a cover is necessary to trap the heat and steam inside, to thoroughly cook the food. Canvas tarps, soaked in sea water, are used for this purpose. More tarps are placed on top and the edges are sealed with sand. 

The tarps are placed over the steaming, hot pit.

The "clambake" is allowed to cook (steam) for one to two hours, a timeframe known from intuition and guarded over by the pit master.

It's now dark, and
time to collect the reward.

Dan Clark starts harvesting the cooked food.
The harvest is hot, cramped and time consuming, as one by one, each piece of food is plucked from the pit.

The first pot, heading toward the table.

Since most beaches today outlaw any fires on the beach, this tradition has been relegated to private beaches only. Most caterers who specialize in clambakes, usually bring a large metal vat to build the fire within. It's far removed from the natural sand pit with stones - the historic, traditional New England clambake on the beach. Which is a regional institution quickly fading into oblivion. 

The service is casual - dumped onto a table.

Self-Service. A guest with his selection of lobster, clams, corn, potatoes & sausage.

Thankfully, Forest Lowry is determined to help this New England institution survive, much to the pleasure of his family.

Forest Lowry on the beach.
(Sources: Participant in the feast, photos by Jack A. Atkinson with contributions from several other participants, text research from wikipedia.)

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, is an online publication dedicated to "The Pursuit of Happiness, the Arts and Food." ™ All rights reserved. Concept, Original Art, Text & Photographs are © Copyright 2012 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery, museum, fair or festival photographs were taken with permission. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

MoMA's Century of the Child: Growing by Design Exhibition + Cajun Salsa & Eggs

At the entrance to the exhibition is a giant table and chairs. 
The scale makes adults feel like small children again.
The large blow-ups are photographs by Jens S. Jensen (Swedish, born 1946). Boy on the Wall, Hammarkullen, Gothenburg. 1973. Photograph of Michael (age 9). Gelatin silver print, 9 7/16 x 11 3/4″ (24 x 29.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jens S. Jensen, 2012
(Photograph taken at the exhibition, with permission J.Atkinson.)

"Maxi" table & chairs set, including Tripp Trapp chair, 1972, Designed by Peter Opsvik (Norwegian)
Lacquered beech wood. As a part of the design process Opsvik reproduced oversize version to help his team empathize with an average three-year-old.
Peter Obsvik designed the adjustable Tripp Trapp chair after watching his son, Thor - too big for a high chair, but too small for an adult chair - struggle for a place at the family dining table. More than seven million Tripp Trapp chairs have since been sold. 
(Photograph by Dag Lausund, Courtesy of Stokke.)

MoMA nyc
Century of the Child:
Growing by Design

Exhibition is up through 
November 5, 2012

MoMA’s ambitious survey of 20th century design for children is the first large-scale overview of the modernist preoccupation with children and childhood as a paradigm for progressive design thinking. The exhibition brings together areas underrepresented in design history and often considered separately, including school architecture, clothing, playgrounds, toys and games, children’s hospitals and safety equipment, nurseries, furniture, and books.

Ladislav Sutnar (American, born Bohemia [now Czech Republic]. 1897–1976). Build the Town building blocks. 1940–43. Painted wood, thirty pieces of various dimensions, largest smokestack: 7 3/8 x 2 (18.7 x 5.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Ctislav Sutnar and Radoslav Sutnar.
(Photo coutesy of MoMA Press Department)
Selected art pieces from Pee-Wee's Playhouse
dominates a room near the end of the exhibition.
(Photo taken at the exhibition, with permission by J.Atkinson.)
In 1900, Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key’s book Century of the Child presaged the 20th century as a period of intensified focus and progressive thinking regarding the rights, development, and well-being of children as interests of utmost importance to all society. Taking inspiration from Key—and looking back through the 20th century 100 years after her forecast—this exhibition examines individual and collective visions for the material world of children, from Utopian dreams for the “citizens of the future” to the dark realities of political conflict and exploitation. In this period children have been central to the concerns, ambitions, and activities of modern architects and designers both famous and unsung. Working specifically for children has often provided unique freedom and creativity for avant-garde artists and designers.

Froebel Gift No. 2: Sphere, Cylinder, and Cube. c. 1890. Wood and string, 11 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 3 (28.6 x 26 x 7.6 cm). Manufactured by J. L. Hammett Co., Braintree, Massachusetts (est. 1863). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Lawrence Benenson, 2011
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)
Froebel Gift Series: Intent on fostering the curiosity and creativity of young minds, Froebel devised a series of twenty playthings, which he called "Gifts". These objects formed the core of his pioneering model of early childhood education, anchoring sessions of play that were either directed by teachers or instigated by the children themselves. Gifts 1 through 10 included crocheted balls in different colors, wooden building blocks, geometric shapes, and steel rings that could be arranged in numerous temporary configurations. Gifts 11 through 20 provided the materials for focused activities, such as multicolored sheets of paper for cutting, weaving and folding. By the early twentieth century, this system was so popular that Froebel Gifts were being manufactured on a large scale in both Europe and the United States. 

Jean Prouvé (French, 1901–1984). School desk. 1946. Enameled steel and oak, 28 1/2 x 45 x 34 (72.4 x 114.3 x 86.4 cm). Manufactured by Ateliers Jean Prouvé, Nancy. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Dorothy Cullman Purchase Fund
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)

Jean Prouve formally trained as a blacksmith and described himself as a constructor, because he identified as both a designer and engineer. His keen interest in materials and involvement in every step of production made him particularly well-suited to the demand for new postwar schools. A shortage of materials coupled with a need to build quickly, necessitated flexibility and resourcefulness. Prefabricated shells with mass produced aluminum roof panels allowed for open, adaptable classrooms. This desk, for students aged eight to fourteen, with its straightforward application of enameled steel and oak, reveals Prouve's practicality and thoughtful considerations of space.

At the entrance to the exhibition is a short video showing a motorized wheel being enjoyed and driven by a young boy down a early 20th century road.
(Photos taken at the exhibition, with permission J.Atkinson.)

Century of the Child is organized in seven roughly chronological sections in MoMA’s sixth- floor exhibition gallery, exploring different themes through a mix of design type, material, scale, and geographical representation. 

New Century, New Child, New Art
The first section covers the period from 1900 through World War I. For many designers, writers, and reformers at the turn of the 20th century, children were the living symbol of the sweeping changes that ushered in the birth of the modern.

Avant-garde Playtime
The second section locates children and childlike perspectives in relation to well-known avant-garde groups and movements of the 1920s and 1930s.

Light, Air, Health
The third section looks at how modernism revealed its greatest idealism in design for children between the two world wars, when a concern for the health and safety of the young was united with a determination to transform society.

Children and the Body Politic
The fourth section reveals the involvement of children as both icons and intended audiences of designed propaganda in major political movements and conflicts from the 1920s through World War II.

The fifth section focuses on visions for constructing better, more egalitarian worlds during the baby boom years following World War II, and the exuberant reappearance of children in public urban spaces and modern, less formal school environments after the wartime experience of confinement or evacuation.

Mariska Undi (Hungarian, 1877–1959). Design for children’s room. 1903. Lithograph, 11 5/8 x 16 1/4(29.5 x 41.3 cm). Published by the Hungarian Ministry of Culture in Mintalapok (1903), New folio 1 (IX), no. 1, sheet 2The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase (Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)
This interior design scheme exemplified the Hungarian varian of "New Art", which combined references to colorful, traditional folk culture with a response to international artistic currents and modern methods of production and distribution. It was published by the Ministry of Culture as an example of a distinctivly modern Hungarian craft idiom.

Gerrit Rietveld (Dutch, 1888–1964). Child’s wheelbarrow. 1923 (manufactured 1958). Painted wood, 12 1/2 x 11 3/8 x 33 1/2 (31.8 x 28.9 x 85.1 cm). Manufactured by Gerard van de Groenekan. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Beeldrecht, Amsterdam
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)
Rietveld, designer of the famous Red and Blue Chair (1917) and the Zig Zag Chair (1934), designed many wooden pieces (eventually mass-produced) which were originally designed to be handcrafted. Rietveld aimed for simplicity in shape and construction. In 1919 he became a member  the 'De Stijl' movement and that same year, he became an architect.

Antonio Rubino (Italian, 1880–1964). Il bimbo cattivo (The bad child) bedroom panel. c. 1924. Tempera on canvas, 6′ 1 1/4″ x 65 3/4″ x 9/16″ (186 x 167 x 1.5 cm). Wolfsoniana – Fondazione regionale per la Cultura e lo Spettacolo, Genoa(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)

Antionio Rubino's taste for the grotesque, the bizarre, and the fantastic is evident in the surreal form of this decorative panel on the theme of "The Bad Child" which was part of a unique children's room. A self-taught artist, best known as a children's illustrator and founder of one of the most influential children's magazines in Italy, Corriere die piccoli, Rubino is also known for his art forms that violate perceived boundaries.

Detail from Stahlromöbel (Tubular steel furniture), loose-leaf sales catalogue for furniture offered by the Thonet Company, showing Marcel Breuer’s B341/2 chair and B53 table. 1930-31. Lithograph, gravure, and letterpress, 8 3/8 x 6 1/8” (21.3 x 15.6 cm). Published by Thonet International Press Service, Koln. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Department of Architecture and Design Study Center.
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)

The Skipper-Racer, c. 1933 - Designed by: John Rideout (American 1898-1951) & Harold Van Doren (American 1895-1957) was mass-produced in Toledo, Ohio. The Skipper-Racer was expressive of a material culture of personal freedom, mobility and consumer choice. Advertising emphasized its stylish streamlining, speed, and innovative features such as ball-bearing wheels. Priced at $4.95, it was nevertheless beyond the reach of many children still living in abject poverty during the Depression years-and thus a reminder of the eleven reach of modern design.

Graf Zeppelin toy dirigible. c. 1930. Iron alloy, aluminum, enamel paint, and decals, 7 ¼ x 25” (18.4 x 63.5 cm). Manufacture attributed to J.C. Penney Co., Inc., Plano, Texas. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Modernism Collection, gift of Norwest Bank Minnesota
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)
Lucienne Bloch (American, b. Switzerland, 1909-1999). The Cycle of a Woman’s Life study for a mural commissioned by Federal Art Project, Works Progress Administration, for the House of Detention for Women, Greenwich Village, New York. 1935. Water and pencil on board, 11 ¾ x 17 ¼” (29.8 x 43.8 c,). The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)
Unknown Italian designer. Gioco delle 3 oche (Game of the 3 geese). c. 1944. 12 ½ x 22 ½” (31.8 x 57.2 cm). The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)

Gioco delle 3 oche - Italian - (Game of the 3 geese). c. 1944 - Toy companies in both the Axis and Allied countries produced board games, puzzles and toys which were little more than propaganda, regarding World War II. Italian children could play Gioco dell 3 ochre, (the game of 3 geese), which was an allegorical game depicting the enemy as silly geese ready for slaughter.

 Schaukelwagon (Rocking car). 1950. Hans Brockhage (German, 1925–2009) and Erwin Andrä (German, dates unknown). Beech frame and birch plywood seat, 15 3/4 x 39 3/8 x 14 15/16 (40 x 100 x 38 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Architecture and Design Purchase Fund
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)

Omnibot 2000, remote-controlled robot. c. 1985. Various materials, 24 x 15 x 14 (61 x 38.1 x 35.6 cm). Manufactured by Tomy (formerly Tomiyama), Katsushika, Tokyo. Space Age Museum/Kleeman Family Collection, Litchfield, Connecticut
(Photo courtesy of MoMA Press Department)

Omnibot 2000 - c. 1985 - Programmable by cassette tape and controlled by remote, Omnibot robots could move, speak, grasp items with claw like fingers and transport small objects on a try. The toy was large and had limited functions, but the suggestion of a futuristic life as well as control over a machine, made Omnibots very popular with children and teenagers in the mid-1980s.

(Editor's Note: Not all images I wanted to discuss for this exhibition were available to me & photography was generally not allowed. The following sketches were drawn at the exhibition and with permission. For even more coverage there is a link to the MoMA site, which has many photographs with discriptions.)

Child's Rocker c. 1970 by Gloria Caranica (American)
Plywood & painted wood - Mfg. by Creative Playthings, USA
(Drawn at the exhibition, with permission by J.Atkinson.)

Creative Playthings, originally founded in 1949 as a small toy shop in Greenwich Village, became one of the foremost manufacturers of postwar "good toys" - sturdy, modern interpretations of traditional toys. The company gained a reputation for good design as well as educational value most of it's offerings. The company's founders, Frank Caplan and Bernard Barenholz, were both former teachers. Creative Playthings operated a factory in Herndon, Pennsylvania and was eventually sold to Columbia Broadcasting Corporation.

"Nicke" dachshund pull toy c. 1960

This classic, painted wooden pull toy, is  7 1/2 inches long by 4 3/4 inches wide and
was Manufactured by Brio in Stockholm (established in 1908).
(Drawn at the exhibition, with permission by J.Atkinson.)

Inflatable Giraffe 1969-76
Libuse Niklova (Czechoslovak 1934-1981)
This inflatable is still manfactured and is available at the MoMA gift shop.
(Drawn at the exhibition, with permission by J.Atkinson.)

In a country famous for its wooden toys, Czech designer Libuse Niklova fully embraced plastic. She studied plastic molding, which flourished after WWII and predicted that "in the future products from plastic will surround man just like the air." Plastic and air are central to her inflatable toys, including children of different cultures and larger animal-shaped play-furniture. She also experimented with PVC figures and animals, some with accordion-shaped torsos (the most common and beloved of which was the cat).

Paper Playsacks 1967 (costume) 
Fruden Shapur (British) 
(Drawn at the exhibition, with permission by J.Atkinson.)

The paper sack costumes, dubbed "Paper Playsacks" by designer Fruden Shapur, were an offshoot of the paper sack mask, but instead covered the entire body of the child. Each sack had a large hole for the child to see through and arm holes on either side. The sacks were large brown paper sack with images printed onto the front.

To see almost the entire show, go to the MoMA Century of the Child site (Link below).
MoMA's "Century of the Child" Timeline is very easy to navigate, and a pleasure to peruse.

This is a timeline link, just keep clicking on the arrow on the right. In some ways it is easier to see more of the show in this format, than if you went to the exhibition itself.

(Sources: As noted under each image. Information is from a visit to the exhibition and from MoMA's press department.)

Cajun Eggs & Salsa


Salsa with Cajun Spice:
2 small tomatoes diced
1 medium onion diced
1 Tbs. dry cilantro
1 tsp. dry basil
1 heaping tsp cajun seasoning (dry)
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper

Scrambled Eggs:
1 serving = 2 Eggs + splash of water


Mix together salsa ingredients.
Stirred eggs and water into an emulsion, in a cup

- spray a sauté pan with vegetable (olive)  oil
- put half of the salsa in the sauté pan and cook until some browning occurs and the tomatoes sweeten a bit. 
- remove cooked salsa to a plate

- clean the pan and re-spay the sauté pan
- cook the eggs / water mixture, one batch at a time, lifting from below and turning the eggs until fluffy but still moist.

- Serve on a plate with some raw salsa on top and a helping of cooked salsa to the side.

Until later,
ARTSnFOOD, is an online publication dedicated to "The Pursuit of Happiness, the Arts and Food." ™ All rights reserved. Concept, Original Art, Text & Photographs are © Copyright 2012 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery, museum, fair or festival photographs were taken with permission. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.