Sep 6, 2013

Or is it?

I try to savor every bite.  I try not to stuff my face.  I try to appreciate the artistry and effort that went into most of what I eat, even if it's an apple.

The question of whether or not FOOD IS ART is not something I have not given much thought to. Thursday night at The New School, a panel attempted to answer that query.  The discussion centered around the word ART.  What is it?  This isn't the first group of people that have tried to parse that word. 

Fabio Parasecoli, Professor and Coordinator of the Food Studies Program at The New School organized the event.  Deliberately or not, he put together a group of people with extremely diverse points of view.  This makes for a good evening.

The anti-ART contingent was represented by Joe Grimm and Lauren Carter Grimm of Grimm Artisanal Ales. They passionately decried the formalism of traditional ART.  They put together a power point presentation composed of the work of early performance artists, as well as those artists, like Felix Gonzalez-Torres.  Torres was known for his mounds of hard candy. Viewers were able to take a piece. 

On the other side, was Michael Laiskonis,  pastry chef at Le Bernardin.  He represented haute cuisine.   Punctuation, texture, balance, color and structure are the metaphors Laiskonis borrowed from the arts, to describe how he thinks as a chef.  He  sketches out a new dessert on paper, before actually putting together any ingredients.  "I do not consider myself an artist." All I could think about was how much I wanted to be at Le Bernardin and taste one of his creations.

I am sure I missed something Thursday night.  My attention was diverted.   I was thinking about Is Food ART?  Are we really talking apples to apples?  Is Ferran Adrias' Parmesan and Porcini Forest Flower  as innovative as  Matisses' Red Room.  Is Rene Redzepis' Radish, Soil and Grass as memorable as James Turrells' Aten Reign?  Is Hestor Blumenthals' Salmon Poached in Liquorice Gel as creative as The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper? 

Feeling very old, I had to say NO; it's not the same.

Is Food ART?
Thursday, September 5, 2013
The New School for Public Engagement
Organized by Food Studies Program
SoFAB Center for Food, Law, Policy & Culture
New York University

Professor and Coordinator of the Food Studies Program at The New School, Fabio Parasecoli,
Visual artist and craft brewer, Lauren Carter Grimm and Joe Grimm
Food photographer, Nino Andonis
Le Bernardin pastry chef, Michael Laiskonis
Umami Food and Art Festival Director, Yael Raviv
President and Director of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Liz Williams, moderator