Thursday, December 16, 2010

Visiting the Artist at the Table

Above: Byron Baldwin (Charlotte, NC), Cafe Slavica, Prague, 1997-99.


Following this aesthetic "food chain" through the centuries is admittedly narrow, but certainly not confining. If one examines the paintings of Pissarro
(France, 1830-1903), the novels of Hemingway (Oakpark, Illinois,1899-1961), or the photography of Robert Frank (1924, Zurich, Switzerland) and Byron Baldwin, the path will lead to the artists' entire oeuvre and reveal its inherent power: the affective presence.

Gastronomica, the Journal of Food and Culture, the Oxford Symposium series, and the recent formation of university programs in Sensory Studies
at the university-level are examples of this idea taken to the highest level.

One good example is the Last Supper (also known as The Mystical Supper or the last seder), beginning with an early one from the 12th centur
Leonardo DaVinci, The Last Supper (Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena), 1496-99

Below: The Last Supper (1150-1200) part of the Passion Cycle, in a 12th century chapel, Ekleton, Cambridgeshire, England. Leonardo finished his Last Supper in 1498-99.

Pursuing the history and currency of food images in the arts is an appealing and productive scheme for learning about the visual arts.

Russian Icon, ca 1497

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish Baroque, Netherlands, 1577-1640) Last Supper, 1632 (oil on wood panel)

Below: Bob Law, (Brentford, Middlesex, England, 193) The Last Supper (sculpture, maquette)), 1984

Andy Warhol (Pittsburgh, PA. USA. 1928-1987) The Last Supper, 1986

Anthony Haden-Guest said: "The Last Supper" suite is an anthology of Warhol riffs. The painting appears whole, as a double-silk screened image, washed in the medicine-bottle hues he loved -- green, blue, yellow, rose-red -- and in details, executed by Warhol in deft outline. The show includes two big versions of the painting, Christ 112 Times, in which he repeated the image (as he had done from the very beginning of his post-commercial career, when he made paintings of repeated dollar bills).

Warhol's Installation

Damien Hirst (Briston, England, 1965) Last Supper (Part of the Last Supper Series), 1999. Hirst's series depicts all sort of British commercially packaged and canned foods, a satirical comment on the religious motif.

Julie Green

Ceramic artist Jule Green began her "Last Supper Series" in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2003.

Julie Green ceramic artist / Celia Shapiro, photographer.

In 2007, art critic Kelly Klaasmeyer wrote: Green makes art about the last meals of death row inmates; it's a pretty provocative topic and one that another artist, Celia Shapiro, addressed in a strong series of photographs on view at the Houston Center for Photography a few years ago. Shapiro re-created and then photographed the last meals of Texas death row inmates in lurid color. Green has an equally successful but more meditative approach. Hers is an ongoing project in which she painstakingly paints little still-lifes of inmates' last meals on hundreds of plates. At Diverse Works, she has covered the wall with them.
Finally, film maker, Peter Greenaway (1942, Wales, UK; best film: "The Thief, The Husband, The Wife and Her Lover", 1989).

LAST SUPPER: A VISION opened in NYC at Park Avenue Armory,December, 2010), an immersive light-and-sound installation for the laptop generation. a way of seeing if digitalized painting on aluminum ALUCORE musical pulsing rhythms by Marco Rubino.
Newspaper reviews suggest that it was not well received.

A Brief Review of Food Images from the Past:

Chauvet Cave Art , (BCE 30,000), found in Pont d'Arc, in southern France. Here, a few of the 13 species of food sources depicted in this most recent cave art discovery, discovered in 1994.

Rock art (BCE 5,000) Fishing boat and nets, Alta Fjord, Norway

Roman bowl of Fruit, Pompeii, BCE 70

Hieronymus Bosch, Allegory of Intemperance, 1490-1500. Bosch used many versions of sociable feasting but also its intemperant extreme and sin, gluttony.
Pieter Brueghel, the Elder (Netherlands, Flemish Renaissance, ca.1525-1569) The Battle Between Carnival and Lent, 1559

Canille Pissarro, Picnic at Mount Morency, 1891
Ruth Bernard, LIfe Savers, 1930

Allan Kaprow ( 1927-2008, Atlantic City, NJ) A Happening: Household Women Lick Jam off a Car. Circa 1964. Part performance and participatory art, part alternative approach to art, always a protest against the commercialization of art via galleries, and a direct statement about Do-It-Yourself art, happenings began in Germany and grew popular in the US, especially in New York and Los Angeles. See FLUXUS.

Above: Happening, 1964

Clive Barker, Fridge, 2001

Fridge by Clive Barker
Clive Barker has often been described as the most important sculptor of the pop art movement and made a great stir in the 1960s. He cites his most formative influence as a spell working on the assembly line at the Vauxhall car factory in Luton, where he was inspired by enormous skips filled with chrome-plated lamps and the pleasure of seeing new cars lined up.
Photograph: David Sillitoe, Guardian

Jan Antoni, Gnaw (1992) The artist literally gnawed blocks of chocolate and lard into the significant shape: the modernist cube.

Natalia Nesterova (1944, Moscow, Russia), Preparing the Fish, 1993

Faith Ringgold (1931, New York City), Picnic on the Grass Alone, 1997

Robert Frank, Coffee Shop, 1956

Literary Food Images:

Franz Kafka "A Hunger Artist" ("Ein Hungerk√ľnstler"), also translated as "A Fasting Artist" and "A Starvation Artist", is a short story by Franz Kafka published in Die Neue Rundschau in 1922. The protagonist is an archetypical creation of Kafka, an individual marginalized and victimized by society at large.

Ernest (Miller) Hemingway (Oakpark, Ill), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). A tale from the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39

William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust (1948)

Jim Crace, The Devil's Larder, 2001. A book of vignettes, short and long, all referencing food as literary devices, bringing life experiences into focus.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 2006. This post-apocolyptic novel makes food a dire human problem.

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