May 5, 2017 - Museum Angewandte Kunst - Picnic Time
May 5, 2017

Museum Angewandte Kunst

Cape Town, 1978. © Barbara Klemm.

Picnic Time
May 6–September 17, 2017

Opening: May 5, 7–10pm

Museum Angewandte Kunst
Schaumainkai 17
60594 Frankfurt / Main
Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Wednesday 10am–8pm

T +49 69 21231286

www.museumangewandtekunst.de
Facebook / Instagram

Picnic Time
May 6–September 17, 2017

Opening: May 5, 7–10pm

Museum Angewandte Kunst
Schaumainkai 17
60594 Frankfurt / Main
Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Wednesday 10am–8pm

T +49 69 21231286

www.museumangewandtekunst.de
Facebook / Instagram

A picnic in the countryside, "un déjeuner sur l’herbe"... all over the world, people love to get together and share a meal in the open air. Already the Ancient Greeks enjoyed this pastime, and the invention of the picnic basket in eighteenth-century England marked its rise in status to a veritable society event.

Picnic Time is the first major exhibition ever devoted to the phenomenon of the picnic. From May 6 to September 17, 2017, the show at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main is retracing the fascination of dining out of doors through a wide range of different periods and cultures. For instance, what is the nature of the lavish picnics during the Henley Royal Regatta in England? How do people picnic on the world’s highest mountains? How do they do it in the Middle East and during cherry-blossom season in Japan? On more than a thousand square metres of exhibition space, numerous objects—including picnic utensils of widely differing forms, makes and origins—as well as installations, photographs and films bear witness to the abundant diversity of a popular custom.

People have always consumed meals out of doors. In the Baroque era, dining in the open air advanced to become a favourite summertime diversion among the French nobility, and gave rise to the term "pique-nique." Picnicking also attained great popularity in eighteenth-century England and is still as fashionable as ever there today. Picnickers in the Middle East, on the other hand, are reminded of their nomadic roots when they leave town and pilgrimage out to the countryside with their family and friends to cook and feast in the open air. In Germany, immigrant families continue the custom, using the public space and parks for barbecuing and leisure-time activities. The show sheds light on historical and contemporary picnic rituals and objects of Switzerland, Germany, France and the Nordic countries, India, Iran, Mexico and many other countries and regions. 

The picnic method has also found a use in action art. In 1983, the Nouveau Réaliste Daniel Spoerri invited 100 members of the Paris art scene to a banquet in the park of Montcel Castle in Jouy-en-Josas, and subsequently had the entire remains—a 40-metre-long table, chairs, dishes, cutlery, bottles, leftover food—buried on the spot. In 2010, this "déjeuner sous l’herbe" was the first contemporary artwork ever to be excavated by archaeologists.

The exhibition also sheds light on some of the more unusual manifestations of the picnic culture, for example the Mexican Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. On this occasion, people join their ancestors for a holiday lasting several days and culminating in picnics at graveyards. And if you think that’s weird: during the Napoleonic Wars, the British nobility took to picnicking at the side of the battlefield.

As a mass event, the picnic can even have an impact on politics. The show recalls the Pan-European Picnic held on the Hungarian-Austrian border on August 19, 1989. Several hundred East German citizens took advantage of the situation to flee to the West—and thus played a decisive role in the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The picnic is a custom practised by people of all social strata. It can be a refined ritual or a spontaneous, casual gathering. At high society events and gay countryside outings alike, the sharing of food and drink brings people together and creates a sense of community. Picnicking en plein air is distinguished by playful freedom from constraint; it can offer relaxation and togetherness and sometimes even help overcome class boundaries.

Director: Matthias Wagner K
Curator: Dr. Charlotte Trümpler
Curatorial assistance: Leonie Wiegand
Press contact: Dorothee Maas: T +49 69 212 32828 / F +49 69 212 30703 / presse.angewandte-kunst [​at​] stadt-frankfurt.de

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