Having long ago moved beyond the classic confines of canvas and stone sculptures, art is now taking the form of a group salad course at New York’s Whitney Museum.
Darren Bader’s edible exhibition is officially untitled but is being referred to as, “fruits, vegetables; fruit and vegetable salad.” Going on display Wednesday (January 15) at the Manhattan museum, the exhibit welcomes attendees to witness and participate in the asparagus to omega of salad-making.
The exhibit begins with a display of a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables placed atop maple wood pedestals in the Whitney’s eighth floor gallery. The grocery list includes bananas, fennel and squash. At select times, members of the museum staff comes through the gallery and pick up the items before taking them to a kitchen where they create the large salad. The process itself takes about half an hour. The preparation in the kitchen is not open to attendees, but they can view the prep on a projection screen set up in the exhibit. The final product is then wheeled out and served to the public in dixie cups.
“This question of what is art is kind of this eternal question, right? And this is a work that definitely brings that up for a lot of viewers,” Christie Mitchell, the senior curatorial assistant for the Whitney Museum, told Reuters. “The great thing about a work like this that is kind of so multi-valence is that it can reflect back what’s happening in our times and I think great works really do that.”
And connecting the celebration of colorful fruits and vegetables with climate change is certainly plausible, Mitchell said.
Bader himself is no stranger to challenging artistic conventions. The New York-based artist has gained attention for pieces including, “lasagna on heroin,” in which he injected the drug into the classic Italian dish. He also raised eyebrows for a show at the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York in 2011 in which a pair of live goats were released into the gallery. Bader has in fact already had work featured at the Whitney. Back in 2014, he showcased two donation boxes at the museum’s Biennale that year. One said, “All donations will go to something,” and the other said, “All donations will go to nothing.”
One attendee at Bader’s most recent work simply appreciated the group experience.
“We’ve lost our relationship with food by being too fast and too easy. We need to get back to sharing it with community,” Jamie Paladino, a New York-based employee of a 3D printing company, told Reuters.
“Fruits, vegetables; fruit and vegetable salad,” will be on display at the Whitney Museum from January 15 to February 17, 2020. At scheduled times throughout the week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays from 3-6 pm, and Fridays from 7:30-10 pm – museum staff will make the salad and distribute it.
(Production by: Soren Larson and Dan Fastenberg)