To me art and food are very similar because before you ever eat with your mouth you eat with your eyes. If you’ve ever watched a cooking competition show participants are largely judged upon not only how their food tastes, but also how well it’s presented visually.
The Chicago Art Institute currently has an exhibit called “Art and Appetite” that depicts food in art in America through the decades that runs through January 27, 2014. I recently had the chance to visit this exhibit during the Art Institute’s extended Thursday evening hours.
The exhibit brings together over 100 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 18th through the 20th century, along with a selection of period cookbooks, menus, trade cards, and posters, to explore the art and culture of food and examine the many meanings and interpretations of eating in America.
Even though it seems that it’s only been recently that food and chefs have taken on a new celebrity within society, food in fact has been present in pop-culture for decades. From bowls of fruit, to depictions of restaurant goers and the American tradition of Thanksgiving, artists have used food to reflect America’s current cultural, political and social climate.
The Art Institute’s exhibit on food was a cool history lesson for any foodie. Still-life paintings of the American family sitting down for a meal together morphed into a colorful prints of Campbell’s soup cans by Andy Warhol to giant fabric eggs the size of a car. The exhibit really showed how food culture has changed over time in America and was a new and different perspective on food and history!
If you are a fan of food and art I’d highly recommend making a trip down to the Art Institute before the exhibit ends!