The Menu

Curated by Brian Hannon.

This exhibition features Toby Lee Greenberg’s unusual book entitled The Menu . The exhibition includes a display of the artist’s original prototype, as well as the offset version published by Sara Ranchouse Publishing.

Toby Lee Greenberg is a conceptual artist whose works typically involve a critical analysis of social and political issues. For her latest work, a book entitled The Menu, she has researched and compiled a list of the foods requested by a specific group of people since 1976. Each page, designed to mimic an expensive restaurant’s menu, recounts one person’s choice of foods for a particular meal. At the bottom of the page is the person’s name, a date and time, and the place of the meal. Some of the selections are elaborate, rich dinners of
lobster thermidor, others are as simple as corn flakes. Seems innocent enough.

But as viewers turn the pages of this book, they come to realize a common, disturbing element among all the meals. Eventually, the viewer recognizes a name, discerns the significance of the early morning hours or, as I did, realize the place names are all towns where state prisons are located. Ms. Greenberg’s “menu” is a tangible account of the last meals of people about to be electrocuted, hanged, injected, gassed or shot. Once the theme of the book becomes apparent, readers
inevitably close the book and start over, looking at each page with a new set of eyes.

Exhibition Checklist

The Menu (1995)
Toby Lee Greenburg
A compilation of 34 menus. Offset printed in black on Mohawk warm white 70# text paper. Bound with gold elastic cord to a burgundy crafthide menu cover. Title is foil stamped in gold. #30.00. Deluxe edition available for $125, bound in a padded menu cover with metal corners. Includes a lithograph on Rives BFK of one menu.

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