WHY SHOULDN'T WE TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS AT THE TABLE?: A COMMUNITY BASED
CONVERSATION WITH SOUTH FLORIDA ARTISTS
Images (left clockwise): Morel Doucet, Tea With The Queen (Reperations), 2019; Onajide Shabaka, You belong here..., 2020; Sri Prabha, Nightlands 3, Flowing Thru Time, 2018
Why Shouldn’t We Talk About These Things At The Table?: A Community Based Conversation with South Florida Artists is a contemporary art exhibition that presents 15 artists residing in South Florida whose work varies greatly in style and media. The exhibition looks at the American cultural tradition of not discussing politics, religion, and other challenging subjects at the table, and proposes that given our diverse family structures we should bend these rules and allow for conversations that bring together an informed and empathetic community as extended family.
The title and concept of the exhibition was inspired by conversations between curators Adrienne Rose Gionta and Jeanie Ambrosio about the 1922 text by Emily Post, “Etiquette: The Blue Book for Social Usage” which provided the earliest “how-to’s” for interacting thoughtfully with others. This exhibition considers Emily Post’s dinner table guidance which states, “while politics, religion, and other potentially volatile topics aren’t really off-limits, discussing them could risk nettling your dinner companions and putting a damper on the meal.”
Today, table etiquette recommendations prevail in the form of blogs, podcasts, social media posts and news articles that are readily available via any device with a wireless connection. The persistent nature of this advice has led the curators to question why it still seems appropriate to avoid important subjects in conversation. To begin this discussion, we bring together the works of: Harumi Abe, John William Bailly, Randy Burman, Lou Anne Colodny, Morel Doucet, Todd Lim, Laura Marsh, Peggy Levinson Nolan, Marielle Plaisir, Sri Prabha, Sandra Ramos, Lisa Rockford, Sarah Michelle Rupert, Onajide Shabaka, Michelle Weinberg.