Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Food Lover's Guide to the Arts

Let's say you're enthusiastic about food and drink. Food preparation is a creative act. And you are a bit demanding. You don't make a salad with wet lettuce You don't want your leg of lamb "done." Pie crusts should be made with leaf lard, not vegetable oil. Few restaurants can deliver at your level of expectation.

At the same time, you're eye lingers easily on a David Ligare still life painting (left) or a particularly sensuous paragraph in Monique Truong's Book of Salt or Uwe Timm's Enteckung der Currywurst or Micky Rourke's character hunkering over his fries with gravy in his film, "Diner." But you never got straight which was Abstract Impressionism and what was called Abstract Expressionism. How did Dada contribute to Pop Art? Was it a Bach cantata or a veal piccata? (One calls for capers)

It's time to connect the two with The Food Lover's Guide to the Arts, a review of film and literature, painting and photography, sculpture, performance art, appropriated art and the 21st century rage, installation art. All researched and selected from the theme of food images in the arts, fondly remembering the older genres but vigorously meeting the works of the new millennium.

Consider the hot dog, supposedly invented in Frankfurt, Germany, or by Antonoine Feuchtwanger in St.Louis, Missouri, 1880, or by German immigrant Charles Feltman around 1870 on Coney Island, New York:

Roy Lichtenstein Hot Dog, 1963

Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923, NYC-1997), every bit as much as Warhol, Oldenberg or Thiebaud, has created astounding food images through his colorful, over-sized, steamlined minimalist forms. He came to Rutgers University in 1960, (just after I graduated. Bad timing!), hung out with AbEx artists there, dabbled in comic strips and gave that style credibility in paintings like "Hot Dog." In selecting this image from our popular, commercial culture, he references the early 20th century's Dada movement and the ready-made art of the great French innovator, Marcel Duchamp.

Andy Warhol, Hot Dog Bean Soup, 1980

Warhol told Americans (Did we listen? No!) that commmodity culture was stupid, devisive and demeaning and that art as commodity was one way to tell them.

Steve Wheeler (Stephen Brosnatch, Slovakia, 1912-1992) Woman Eating a Hot Dog, 1975.

Art critic Hilton Kramer called Steve Wheeler "the real thing." He was one of the "Indian Space" painters in the 1940s, influenced by Northwest Coast Native Americans, and by Swiss painter Paul Klee, who flirted with Cubism, Surrealism.
and "Primitive" or tribal art [see Yuxweluptun, below]

Steve Wheeler, 1975

Kirk Fanelly, Woman Eating Two Hot Dogs, 2005

George Segal, Hot Dog Stand, 1978 (sculpture: plaster and wood with acrylic, Plexiglas, steel and electrical apparatus,108 1/4 x 81 1/2 inches)

Ralph Fasanella, Hot Dog Coney Island, n.d. (below left)
. Fasanella was thought of as a folk artist or an Outsider artist.

Isabel Bishop, Lunch Counter, 1940 (below center). Prominent Realist painter in the 1930-40s (See Depression, below)

Below: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun
(born 1957) Haida Hotdog, 1984

Haida Native North Americans live on the Queen Charlotte Islands off British Columbia. The artist's idea is that if one of his band were to eat a hot dog, it might look like this.

1 comment:

monaluna said...

nice post! love the fast-food-by-the-sea...