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Semiotics of the Kitchen

1975 Martha Rosler Born: New York, New York 1943 single-channel video, black and white, sound; 06:09 minutes Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase made possible by the Ford Motor Company © 1975, Martha Rosler 2008.21.7 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In Semiotics of the Kitchen, Martha Rosler performs for the camera as a culinary hostess introducing various kitchen utensils. She progresses through the alphabet, demonstrating a different cooking utensil for each letter. Her physical interaction with the objects is unapologetically sudden and violent. Each display is a thinly veiled gesture of frustration with the language of domesticity as the kitchen becomes grounds for resistance and change. Rosler describes the performance by saying that “as she speaks, she names her own oppression,” identifying a loaded, ordered language as an object to be interrogated. Created in 1975, Semiotics of the Kitchen remains one of the most influential works of both feminist and conceptual art.

Watch This!: Revelations in Media Art, 2015


Architecture Interior - domestic - kitchen

Object - other - cookware

Occupation - domestic - cooking

Portrait female - Rosler, Martha

media arts