In our food obsessed culture, seeing artistry in gastronomy is the norm. Indie magazines
give food stories the literary treatment, archivists obsess over classic menu design
, and the flourishing foragers’ movement
brings the beauty of nature to the table. These examples precede a natural progression to using food both in and as art, a trend that’s well underway in certain creative circles.
Caterer turned full-time food artist Jennifer Rubell
has brought attention
to the use of food as an artistic medium. Her edible exhibits—which have featured, for example, a padded cell made of cotton candy
and cheese-based busts of her head
suspended, melting, over tables piled with crackers—require gallery-goers to interact with the food, upending their preconceptions about consumption. In Rubell’s most recent project
, uniformed nurses make yogurt in a glass-front chamber, passing the fresh cultures through a slot in the wall for visitors to sample. The exhibit is designed to give viewers a glimpse into the process as well as a personal connection with the finished product.
Play With Your Food: Play With Your Food
, an ongoing series organized by the Melbourne-based contemporary art initiative BUS Projects
, uses the public’s fascination with all things culinary as a conduit to explorations of social and economic issues surrounding food. The most recent installment was a ticketed dinner party, in which artists put together a complete menu of “edible artwork” for the crowd’s consumption. These creative canapés expressed imaginative takes on the cultural ramifications of current trends in food production and consumption. Inspired by F.T. Marinetti’s The Futurist Cookbook
, a startlingly early prophecy of molecular gastronomy
, the event relies on ultramodern preparation methods as well as old-fashioned performance to make its political and artistic points.
Banquet for America:
The Flux Factory
artist collective recently staged a food-focused utopian experiment, called Banquet for America
, within the walls of its Long Island City gallery. After weeks of building and preparation, the artists involved inhabited a self-sustaining indoor village, which was open to the public. The 10-day project
hinged on dining rituals, as artists and attendees sat down to communal dinners at a central banquet table, and many of the artists maintained food-themed “shops,” offering up baked goods, beer, and cocktails. Through its art-infused take on the traditional dinner party
, the Banquet alluded to the purpose and function of food in forging community—an ever-relevant concept for our seemingly unchanging fast food nation