Art Institute Of Chicago Debuts Art and Appetite Exhibition
From Nov. 12, 2013 to Jan. 27, 2014, the Art Institute of Chicago will exhibit Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine. The collection of art showcases American painters’ depictions of the country’s changing relationship to food throughout its history, making it an exhibition of interest for students involved in online culinary school courses.
Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” is one of the most well-known works on display. The iconic photo, which showcases a family sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, is notable not only for its portrayal of classic American values, but also for the conspicuously small amount of food at the family’s table.
Another famous photo, Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” shows three seemingly lonely patrons (one of whom is female) and a barkeep in a corner bar late at night. The photo, which is bare of any nourishment (short of two shiny metal kegs), is representative of not only the sparing way food was consumed during the Great Depression era, but also of the changing role of women in the bar and food scene at that time.
Many other notable works line the museum’s halls, including “The Big Spenders” by Lucius Beebe, “Kiss Me and You’ll Kiss the Lasses” by Lilly Martin Spencer, “Grandma’s Hearthstone” by John Haberle and “Turkey” by Roy Lichtenstein.
Also interesting are the vintage recipes highlighted by the exhibition in its accompanying cookbook, including instructions for preparing sheep’s tongue pie, veggie potato pot pies (contributed by Karyn Calabrese), lobster thermadore sausage (Paul Kahan) and numerous cocktails (Rob Roy).
Commentary on food culture
The exhibition not only displays well-known works related to food and drink, it also offers some insight into the way culinary arts have changed within the country over time. Pieces focusing on the advertising industry’s inception into food showcase the wave of consumerism that swept over the country during the middle part of the 20th century. Additionally, numerous pieces showcasing women’s relationship to food and homemaking highlight changes in gender roles within the food world.