Where does “taste” actually come from, who forms it and does everyone have “taste”, even “good taste”? Until May 2022, the Landesmuseum Baden Württemberg in Stuttgart is hosting the special exhibition Taste Matter. Located on the ground floor of the imposing Old Palace, the exhibition is free for everyone to visit, you don’t even need a ticket from the ticket office. Of course, you can still use the lockers in the museum for a deposit of 1€. A recommendable exhibition for which you should plan about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how many other people are also looking at the special exhibition. A great impulse about what taste is and its significance over the past centuries. You might also be interested in other travel blog entries about Stuttgart.
A matter of taste as a collector’s item
It all started over 200 years ago, in the 19th century, the middle classes began to present themselves. We the people were getting better and better off, as a distinction from the aristocracy, the middle classes also presented themselves as well-off. Aesthetics became more and more important. Starting with tasteful cutlery on the dining table to impress guests (who doesn’t remember the Sunday cutlery of grandparents, which was only brought out on special occasions), or the variety of clocks or other decorative objects. In this way, one could, finally, show who one was. By acquiring contemporary designs, one could show one’s own zeitgeist and modernity. However, in one’s own four walls and fashion, art objects and decorations had a different status than perhaps today.
The origin of taste in Baden-Württemberg and the sample warehouse
The special exhibition Matter of Taste in the Landesmuseum Baden Württemberg in Stuttgart shows a clear transition to design and taste here. Easy-to-understand short descriptions, as an impulse for visitors what taste is. But examples of bad taste are also given, of kitsch and a collection of aberrations of taste.
The Württemberg Musterlager was founded as early as 1850. Since then, it has collected everything that was in good taste, innovative and groundbreaking. The collection was then dissolved in 1968 and partly passed on to museums such as the Haus der Wirtschaft Baden Württemberg. At that time, the employees of the sample warehouse not only collected outstanding products in the “Ländle” and collected fabrics and materials, they also travelled to the world exhibitions. With the first World’s Fair in London in 1851, an international platform was finally created to discover the latest developments, technologies, innovations and designs from different countries. It was always an aspiration of each to present something extraordinary and unique at the World’s Fair.
This was all collected by the Württemberg Musterlager in order to set the pace immediately in their own country, but also to act archivally. Thanks to these efforts, we now have so many examples of the trends of the time. While ornate and decorated objects were once in fashion, in the 1920s it was suddenly “in” to design pure simple forms. Back then, trends were much slower, as it was often only on the international stage, such as the World’s Fair, that one could physically present, compare and inform oneself. Nowadays, with the internet and the networking of everything in a matter of seconds, trends come and go much faster. Nothing is as constant and enduring as it was back then; everyone has to decide for themselves which era was “better”. But there is still no accounting for taste…
I can absolutely recommend a visit to the special exhibition Geschmackssache at the Landesmuseum in Stuttgart.
Lances museum Stuttgart Württemberg State Museum
Address: Altes Schloss, Schillerplatz 6, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany
Opening hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily