new-york

Jerri Allyn

Gefens Dairy Restaurant; New Museum of Contemporary Art

American Dining: a Working Woman’s Moment was an art installation produced in restaurants throughout the United States last winter by Jerri Allyn, a former real-life waitress and a co-founder of a Los Angeles–based performance group called The Waitresses. For Allyn, the occupation has been not simply a frequent job but a rich metaphor for the position of women in contemporary culture. She has used the idea of woman-as-ill-paid servant as a fertile springboard for ideological posturing on related issues from sexism to capitalism. In New York City, Allyn programmed the tabletop jukeboxes in a diner-style Jewish dairy restaurant with anecdotes about her life as a waitress; most of these taped monologues were humorous, but all contained pointed moral punch lines about the sexual discrimination and financial oppression inherent in the situation. She also set out paper placemats printed with

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