More than a hundred members of Harvard's elite art community gathered Sunday evening for the gala Cambridge opening of a show by an as-yet undiscovered student artist.
Snubbing the Fogg and the Carpenter Center, they met at Tommy's Lunch, the Mt. Auburn St. home of greasy french fries and late-night pinball. The artist, Lowell House senior David Kuhn, exhibited nine oil paintings and portraits in the first such show ever presented at the 25-year-old diner.
"After a moment's hesitation, I realized I couldn't have asked for a better setting," Kuhn said. Susan C. Morrison '82, organizer of the show, added, "I've been going to Tommy's for years and years. I thought an exhibition would be a good idea and I've been looking for a year for a small, consistent body of work to fill the space."
"I said alright, why not?" Tommy Stefanian, owner of the establishment, said Sunday. "If they weren't good clean kids. I wouldn't let them come in here with this stuff."
The works, mostly depictions of chairs and cigar boxes as well as two portraits, have drawn significant attention from Tommy's customers.
"To make chairs interesting is an extraordinary accomplishment," said Mel the Booksel- ler, who frequents the corner booth near Tommy's jukebox for most of each day.
Many of those who attended the opening night festivities were Kuhn's friends and acquaintances from Lowell and Adams Houses, which traditionally provide Tommy's with most of its customers.
Sam Gazauskis, an employee of the restaurant, said after the opening. "A lot of people have been asking who the artists is". The exhibition has also changed the Tommy's atmosphere, said Gazauskis. "It adds a little bit to the place--what, I'm not sure," he observed.
Stefanian wasn't quite sure what to make of the new additions, either "Well," he said, "on a scale of one to 10. I'm not a good judge, so I won't say."
Regular patrons expressed mixed reactions, but some said that the exhibit confirmed what they had already suspected. The exhibit legitimizes the restaurant as the avant garde center of the Square," said Jonathan H. Spalter '84.
"I was glad to see tine art in an atmosphere other than the hoity-toity Adams House Gold Room," Jay N. Itzkanitz 82 added