Exploring food in art.

Food. We all need it, we all eat it, and if we’re lucky, it’s both delicious and nutritious.

Food not only sustains us; it connects us. A shared meal offers comfort and togetherness, a mouthful of a favorite dish can transport us to our childhood home, and a well-timed bite into the simplest of delights: a warm piece of bread and butter, can fill us with seemingly unwavering hope.

As an integral part of our physical and psychological existence, it’s no wonder that food is so vigorously explored in art.

From the moment our ancient ancestors could draw, paint, carve, or mould, food has appeared consistently thematically. Ancient Egyptians documented their diets on walls, in the 16th century, the Italian artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo created his infamous food-filled portraits, in the ’60s, Warhol’s Campbells Soup Cans were a revelation, and today the exploration and recognition of food continues.

Guiseppe Arcimboldo, Vortumnus (Vertumno)

There are 4723 exhibitions currently listed in Artfacts that feature the term “food”.

Keeping things short, we’ll focus on three of these exhibitions that are in 2023:

Food Age. Food as Influencer, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM), 2023, Instatllation View

Food Age. Food as Influencer
31. March 2023 — 11. June 2023

Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM) exhibition focused on disconnecting food from its natural environment and instead placing it as a non-edible object in the museum.

Zhanna Kadyrova, Fruit, 2021, Permanent installation at M17 Contemporary Art Center, Kyiv, Ukraine

The exhibition explores this via artworks such as that of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s marble bread roll, Marina Abramovic’s infamous onion video, and Zhanna Kadyrova’s stone fruit sculptures.

ELIOT The Super – Street Food

ELIOT the Super sitting in front of his Sculpture “Big Donut, 2021”. Exhibited at Kunstlabor 2 Munich. Foto by Priscilla Grubo

German artist ELIOT the Super’s solo show at Berlin’s JRGallery which featured, you guessed it, paintings of street food, closed on Tuesday.

The Art of Food
16 Jun 2023 — 22 Oct 2023

North Carolina’s Asheville Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition describes food as culture. “Whether farm-raised or factory-made, traveling from kitchen to mouth, what one eats is often a means of understanding time, place, and people”. The exhibition, which is comprised of works from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, will have toured from its previous position at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

David Hockney, Apples Pears & Grapes, 1986, 8 1/2 × 14 in | 21.6 × 35.6 cm

The show, which opens on June 16th, features artworks from postwar and contemporary artists such as Andy WarholDavid HockneyJenny Holzer, and Lorna Simpson, amongst many others.

And finally, as art expands far beyond the walls of an exhibition space: a tasty treat for children from the ‘90s, who may remember this internationally aired French children’s television series, Soupe Opéra.

Today’s exploration of food was just one example of the types of themes present in art that you can discover by simply typing into our search bar.

Let’s make history happen,

The Artfacts Team

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Headerimage by Piotr Pietrus

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