You Art What You Eat

eat lacma

I found myself at the crossroads of eat and art when I attended EatLACMA (curated by Fallen Fruit) wherein 50 artists took over LACMA’s grounds with installations, activities, and talks all centered around edible stuff. It was a festival of whimsically weird meets deliciously innovative and an inspired event to say the least. Here are the pieces that got both my creativity and my salivary glands flowing:

Jennifer Rubell’s donut wall installation got art and food lovers alike talking when she unveiled it at last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach and I was jealous that I couldn’t get a first-hand taste. You can imagine my excitement when I entered LACMA to come face-to-fact with her work, a 60-foot edible wall of countless old-fashioned donuts. Everyone from kids to unabashed adults helped themselves to donuts with some even going hands free and eating donuts right off the wall – it was tastiest food frenzy I’ve ever been a part of.

Strawberry Flag is a do-gooder group working to inject a DIY spirit into the Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration with, among other things, a sustainable strawberry patch in the design of an American flag. They served a high tea, in homage of the daily teas served at the local VA, and though I missed it, their thought-provoking placemats and informative Strawberry Gazette caught my attention.

You don’t often come across a potato patch when museum going, but The Way Potatoes Go by Åsa Sonjasdotter was just one of the numerous hands-on gardens planted across the LACMA campus. It was an examination of the spud’s role in history, but the little ones were more excited that they got hands-on to harvest, wash, bake, and eat all the varieties that had been grown throughout the year. Talk about showing your kids what it takes to get food on the table.

Bari Zipperstein not only has an awesome name but won me over with her installation, Call for Plates, a sort of plate mandala. She collected a year’s worth of plates (3 x 365), installed them as a temporary mandala, and then deconstructed it. I didn’t stay for the deconstruction phase, which is a shame because she was giving away the plates and I saw some stunning mint green milk glass bowls that had my name all over them. But then that would defeat the whole point of a mandala, wouldn’t it?

My favorite part of the day was the M.O.L.D. workshop put on by Finishing School who hold experiments to investigate food safety. They won me over with a dorky project wherein people cut out letters of food regulatory agencies using various breads (the overprocessed “food-like” stuff, some generic middle of the range stuff, and some super-healthy stale-in-seconds bread). The idea is you take your bread petri dish home and witness firsthand that highly processed foods never mold and are therefore scary to eat. Sure, it’s a lesson we food-engaged people have known for a while, but getting to play with petri dishes, masks, and hazmat suits, and to see the kids getting it, well, that made it for me.

The event was a boisterous sort of food-art carnival well worth attending, but, even if you didn’t partake the takeaway is timeless: it’s always okay to play with your food, no matter your age.

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