All posts tagged: art

Savoring Gotham in Edward Hopper Paintings + A Star Wars Rant

I’m thrilled to have written a few entries in the newly published Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City, edited by Andrew F. Smith. As I flip through this tome—brimming with stories about Gotham’s notable foods and beverages, restaurants and bars, historical sites and events, cuisines, personalities, and brands from throughout the city’s five boroughs—one of my favorite entries so far is on Edward Hopper’s paintings of New York City food life. Depicting at times eerily quiet moments with minimal action between human figures, Hopper’s subject matter often drew from urban sites of quotidian America life, including food spaces—modest restaurants, automats, coffee shops, and chop suey joints—which Hopper frequented often with his wife. His paintings use these culinary locales, however, to express the common themes that mark his body of work: anonymity, anxiety, pensiveness, loneliness, and isolation. Hopper’s work critiques the promises of an abundant, fast-paced, cosmopolitan life in the big city, showing how the easy availability of food and drink at all times of the day and night might not lead to contentment. Instead, it fosters dissatisfaction and unease. More isn’t better. …

Ring in the New Year with Picasso and Dalí’s Food-Related Art

Whether you’re ringing in the New Year with a prominent party, a delightful dinner, or champagne in quantities worthy of a Gatsby gathering, I wish you a Happy Near Year—as, in this case, does the food-related art of Picasso and Dalí. A selection of works by these two artists uses food to provide intellectually elevated irony and humor, grounded in both linguistics and visual presentation. Hey—if nothing else, this post can provide you with enviable fodder for cocktail conversation on this New Year’s Eve.  Picasso linked food and linguistics in a playful, yet intellectual form of perceived realism. He repeatedly makes linguistic jokes through the purposeful and witty inclusion of textual ephemera in his collages. And yet, while he includes food advertisements and bottle labels in his pieces, he may be doing so without literal allusion to food, eating, drinking, or dining, but rather based on his personal adoration of typography. For example, in café scenes, Picasso repeats names and labels of dinner wines, brandies, and ales by pasting actual labels or newspaper advertisements onto the canvas …

Phallic Produce and Over-Sexed Peasants in 16th and 17th Century Italian Art

In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the comedic produce paintings of papal Rome and the naturalistic peasant paintings of northern Italy both presented erotic situations that at surface level appear as juvenile examples of low humor. Analyzing these paintings within the large social and political context of the time, however, reveals tensions, transitions, and insecurities within the Church, class relations, and art itself. Varriano cites the popularity of witty puns in the sixteenth century, contending that they embody the instability of politics and the Church (2009: 118). He argues that lusty fruit and vegetable paintings proved to be: The perfect metaphor for the culture of post-Reformation Rome, in which the quest for religious and political orthodoxy may have increased uncertainties and humor was the only acceptable outlet for transgressive desire (Varriano 2009: 125). In fact, erotic pun paintings were most popular in Rome, where these suggestive works may have provided sexual release from the repression required by Catholicism, especially for the clergy. Caravaggio’s Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge is a particularly strong example …

Sacred Feasts: Food in Art as Literal History and Spiritual Metaphor

A variety of food centered sacred narratives have artistic appeal, from parables and miracles that involve food to sacred meals. Varriano (2009) discusses at length two sacred meals in particular, the Last Supper and the Dinner at Emmaus, which were depicted repeatedly by a number of Renaissance artists. Given the sparse details of the actual foods served at the meals and the oft-competing roles of literal and symbolic depictions, however, artistic purpose and intention can be difficult to discern, even in works portraying well-known sacred narratives. Biblical Meanings of Food Many of Christ’s parables utilized food as metaphors, symbols, and narrative devices to create commonality with his followers. Humble fishermen and farmers could thus relate to the subjects of his stories—such as the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the miracle of feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish, the miracle of turning water into wine, and the story of Jesus and the fishers of men—because they are told using the common language of food. Meals, specifically, provide powerful subject matter. As Elsen states …

Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself: 5 Images That Summarize My Food Studies Interests

I’m a food studies student, who obviously loved Jay-Z’s Black Album when I was in college, which feels like a long time ago. As I continue my interdisciplinary studies of food, nutrition, and public health, this blog is a place for some of my finished work, as well as lots of projects that are in process or ideas that are just rumbling around in my mind. Please feel free to comment and engage! It’s okay to be critical, but please be kind. Most of my interests are encapsulated in the cover header I created for this blog… Image 1: MyPlate — Nutrition Education & Food Politics  Introduced in 2011, MyPlate is the USDA’s current nutrition education tool, replacing the 2005 tool, MyPyramid, a bit of a disaster, which built upon the 1992 Food Guide Pyramid, which anyone from my generation learned in elementary school. The plate image has been used previously, such as in the UK’s eatwell plate and the Plate Method used and evaluated in the US. While I feel conflicted about whether we should be telling, instructing, or cajoling people into eating a certain …