A new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago opens today, Nov. 12, 2013, just in time to make us feel better about our Thanksgiving and December’s holiday food excess.
The exhibit, “Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisines,” is on view through Jan. 27, 2014 when we will try to work off all the food eaten during the holidays. It moves to Fort Worth, Texas' Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Feb. 22, 2014 and continues through May 18, 2014.
Developed by American Art Curator Judith Barter, the Art Institute’s Field-McCormick Chair, the exhibit includes works by Raphaelle Peale, John F. Francis, William Harnett, John Singer Sargent, John Sloan, William Merritt Chase, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
“Art and Appetite” is a retrospective of the foods and social gatherings in America from the 18th through the 20th century that tells the story through paintings, cookbooks, posters, artful dishware and other culinary objects. It includes paintings from the country’s early development and Victorian culture to the popularity of cafés and restaurants as hang-outs, havens and meeting places.
Beginning with “Thanksgiving” in Gallery 1, the exhibit is a fun reminder that art-reflects-life. It continues with “Horticulture in the Early Republic” in Gallery 2 followed by the growth of America’s “World Markets” trade in foods and porcelain that are highlighted in Gallery 3.
Gallery 4 features the social, life-style aspect in “Parties, Picnics and Feasts” that is further developed in Gallery 5 as “Antebellum Abundance and the Dining Room.” Gallery 6 reflects on the contrast of wealth and poverty in “Modest Meals in the Gilded Age.”
The “Trompe l’Oeil Painting and Politics” of post Civil War attitudes is the focus of Gallery 7. Gallery 8 is divided into A, an interesting look at “Dining Out at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” and B, a peek at alcohol consumption with “Modernity and Cocktail Culture.”
Gallery 9 deals with the “Changing Times: Modernity in Food and Art” of the first half of the 20th century. The exhibit concludes with “Pop Art: Mass Consumption and the Production of Pop Art” in Gallery 10 as foods were heavily marketed to appeal to the public.
After doing the exhibit it will be difficult to leave without the catalogue or some cookbooks from the gift shop.