November 1999

Robert Watts, TV Dinner   Robert Watts
American, 1923-1988
TV Dinner  1965

photograph laminated on wood, plastic cast
Collection Walker Art Center
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1993


TV dinners were invented in 1954 with the new idea that a frozen meal in an aluminum tray could easily be heated in the oven (there were no microwaves!) and then eaten while watching television. By 1960, 87% of American households had one television, so families could gather
in front of their sets to eat these meals on special TV trays. The first TV dinners contained simple foods similar to those many Americans eat at Thanksgiving dinner--turkey, gravy, potatoes, peas, and dessert. Ask those you are with today if he or she has some favorite memories connected with TV dinners.

Does looking at TV Dinner make you feel hungry?
Why do you think Watts chose to make the peas stand out?

©1999 Walker Art Center

The Artwork of the Month is part of the Walker Art Center's "New Definitions/New Audiences" initiative. This museum-wide project to engage visitors in a reexamination of 20th-century art is made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.