Let Them Eat Cake

The foodie apocalypse has been here for awhile folks, the apex possibly being the imploding of the food festival out in Brooklyn this past weekend whose hype could not survive the realities of feeding mobs of foie gras enthusiasts! The food & the foodie culture has been slowly seeping into art too of course...A few years ago I remember going to a gallery in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn and having a person put a tiny house made out of mouth wash strips in my mouth, photographing the dissolve, a fitting metaphor for the impending housing bubble burst. Another time, I remember going to a gallery show and an art handler offering me TONS of free bananas after covering an entire wall for a Sagmeister show at Deitch Gallery (I almost forgot about this instance! Maybe this is the real reason I like Sagmeister so much?).

Uber-foodie art occurrences are often written up over at Gastronomista (a swanky little cultural food site), the expertly grafted fruit trees of Sam Van Aken will never cease to be stunning, fundraisers taking the forms of dead apple trees in museums (I swear I read about an event where trees were uprooted and strewn in the middle of an art gala to be eaten as they died but I can't find the reference!), and hacked apart human cakes in not one but two (!) instances of recent controversy (the underpaid, undressed Abramovic performance debacle & the poor unknowing Swedish official vs. the terrifying racist cake) are all a few forms of food on display. But as always, when the meaning of the art surpasses a formal trend I tend to like it a whole lot more...especially when it is local ( "Is it local?" , the foodie mantra)!

While strolling through the studio hallways of Goggleworks, an arts complex in nearby Reading PA, today I saw these great food related photographs by the artist Amy Stevens! Her Confections series (partly pictured here), as her website points out, began as a response to turning 30: baking the celebratory cake, exploring the rituals of the cult of Martha Stewart and finding a freedom in making a less than perfect icing. The photos, which at first glance reminded me of a Rolling Stones album cover which then reminded me of the song Mother's Little Helper (an ever so fitting reference!), were so nicely done! Busy crafted backdrops behind grossly luscious or creepily rickety pedestal-ed cakes -- like food porn for psychotic mums-- I loved them! The bright colors to the point of madness made a subversive homemaker feel, a reclaiming of the eerie recipe cards of homemakers past and all of the expectation they represent! Nice one Amy! Now, I'm not sure how permanent the foodie fervor that is upon us is but at least these (meaningful) photographic cakes will live on long after this (extremely delicious looking) $80 cake!

Note: I am not against the foodie movement! Eating responsibly & awesomely IS totally cool! Supreme & sudden appetite (a-gulp!) over anything is more my worry, but don't get me wrong I will eat the hell out of your honey butter fried chicken...I just (probably) won't get in a fist fight over it!



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.