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The MoMA Modern Kitchen

The Martha Stewart Show, October 2010

The kitchen has sure come a long way since its humble beginnings. The room's evolution in both form and function, from poorly ventilated, out-of-sight workroom to ergonomic, family-oriented gathering space, has inspired a new exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen highlights important artifacts and concepts from 20th-century kitchens, illustrating how they have reflected changing attitudes about food, women, family life, and even politics.

Among the exhibition's most important pieces is an unusually complete model of the mass-produced "Frankfurt Kitchen" (pictured). Designed in the twenties by Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky, the kitchen was installed in public-housing buildings in Frankfurt, Germany, in an attempt to streamline the cooking process. Built-in storage, abundant work surfaces, and food-friendly building materials -- novel concepts at the time -- provided a new template for mid-century kitchens around the world.

Highlights from the Collection
Juliet Kinchin, architecture and design curator at the Museum of Modern Art, shares significant objects from the exhibit on "The Martha Stewart Show."

  • Lurelle Guild Wear-Ever tea kettle, c. 1932-33
  • Coors porcelain laboratory containers, c. 1920s
  • Braun AG multipurpose kitchen machine, c. 1957
  • Stainless-steel mixing bowl, c. 1931
  • Ekco vegetable peeler, c. 1944
  • Sherman L. Kelly ice cream scoop, c. 1935
  • Frankfurt Kitchen pouring bin, c. 1926
  • Presto cheese slicer, c. 1940
  • Chemex coffee maker, c. 1941
  • Corning frying pan, c. 1942
  • Mobile kitchen unit, 1963

Resources
To learn more about Counter Space, visit moma.org.