The Art of Food Comes to the Getty

salad garden performanceThe art of food, not paintings of food but the art of food preparation, is beginning to find its way into art museums.

If the Getty Center in Los Angeles is going to treat salad as art, then you can bet iceberg lettuce is not part of the equation. And indeed, from now through January 11, the Salad Garden performance art stage features artists making salads from more than 50 exquisite heirloom herbs, vegetables and edible flowers. Part of the spectacle is also the artists devouring their salads on site.

The work is the brainchild of photographer and writer Julia Sherman who recruited several several additional artists to participate in the fine art of salad making at the Getty.

“Every salad is a new take, especially when the prompt is to make something based off of what we’re growing here,” Sherman says. “We have some familiar plants, but a lot of these plants people have never had before. Even if artists come with a plan which we develop ahead of time, there’s a certain element of chance and improvisation that necessarily happens on site.”

But the idea of treating food preparation as an art is controversial. The comments section of NPR’s story about Sherman’s project featured the usual grumbling about something as lowly as food achieving the status of art:

More evidence, not that we needed it, that performance art is a joke.”

“Dear NPR, How about articles about…you know…ART!”

“Who pays these rich people to do such nonsense?”

“Julia Sherman may be a fair photographer, at least technically proficient, but to label this project “Art”, Performance or otherwise is quite a stretch.”

and so on…

So Jean Francois MIllet’s painting Woman Baking Bread is a work of art but a performance of a woman baking bread is not? Is the issue that performance art cannot be genuine art? millet oven cooking

I thought that controversy had been laid to rest decades ago.

It seems to me that Sherman’s salad making is a representation of people assembling materials for living. Why is that not a fit subject of artistic representation? Fans of Bruegel or Van Gogh would be surprised to hear it.

Resistance to food preparation being an art really seems to border on the irrational.

Why are philistines reading NPR’s art coverage?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.