Let them eat cake: art and food

After my lunch with Andy food has been on the brain; which made me think about the relationship between food and art then and now. Food has been a subject for artists for centuries now from the gorgeous still life paintings of the Dutch masters during 16th and 17th century, to Salvador Dali’s Lobster Telephone in 1936, to the food focused works of Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Wayne Thiebaud of the 1960’s, to Martha Rosler’s infamous feminist piece Semiotics of the Kitchen circa 1975, and Janine Antoni’s gluttonous 1992 piece Gnaw.

Food is a focus of our lives and culture so it is to no surprise that our current obsession with food is stronger than ever. I recently read an article which dubbed a new phrase for our visual obsession with food…gastroporn which describes our scopophilia or love of looking at food. Our relationship with food runs deep in American culture the ongoing exhibition at the National Museum of American History entitled FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000, illustrates the foundations of our food crazed culture, its showcase- Julia Child’s kitchen, a beauteous thing to behold and an example of food crossing into other forms of media ie television. By no means is food disappearing from our mind, body, soul, and table so naturally it will continue to live on in art! Here is a round up of a few of my favorite contemporary artists using food as subject. Bon Appetit!

Sharon Core, Don’t be fooled this still life inspired by early Dutch still life is no painting but a photograph! Core’s work is astoundingly gorgeous and her Wayne Thiebaud recreations could fool almost anyone, the kicker is she hunts down period dishware, grows her own fruit, and concocts every confection herself.


Early American, Strawberries and Ostrich Egg, 2007. 23 x 17 inch Chromogenic Print. {Yancey Richardson Gallery}


Around the Cake, 22 x 28 in, C-Print  {Bellwether Gallery}

Julia Jacquette, I adore Julia Jacquette’s retro-food paintings juxtaposed with phrases of desire, utter perfection.


Julia Jacquette, Fruit and Jello Platter, 1997, Enamel on wood, 22 x 28 inches {Julia Jacquette}

Clare Grill, The fluid and semi-transparent brushstrokes and luminosity in Grill’s paintings add a lovely sense of imperfection and humanness, very Marlene Dumas.


Cake, 2008, oil on panel, 14″ x 16″  {Clare Grill}

Lee Price, The superb hyperrealistic paintings of women eating in bathtubs and in their beds are rich in both painterly technique and content; indulgence, intimacy, vulnerability, self image- powerful.


Lisa in Tub with Chocolate Cake, Oil on Linen, 44 x 60 in  {Lee Price}

Joel Penkman, This selection below from Penkman’s British Food series is just a smattering of his wonderfully whimsical paintings of food and objects.


British Food Series 10 -18  {Joel Penkman}

Amy Evans Streeter, I absolutely adore the quirky quality of Streeter’s paintings, the odd pairings hold such a strong sense of narrative and at the same time feel contradictorily  ambiguous.


Ida Had Certain Things With Her When She Went Fishing, acrylic on wood panel 13 x 23 in         {eatocracy.cnn}


One comment on “Let them eat cake: art and food

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