Impressionism, Cubism, Minimalism... Food-ism? The creative ferment bringing together winemakers, cooks and artists is producing stunning paintings, mixed-media desserts and eye-catching wine bottles.

Food & Wine
September 01, 2011


In this article:


Food Artists: Edible Art

 Saffron SablésPhoto © Antonis Achilleos

Museum-Quality Cookies

Ginkgo trees in San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art sculpture garden inspired leaf cookies by in-house pastry chef Caitlin Williams Freeman.

Green Tea Sablés

Saffron Sablés Halibut and Summer Vegetables en Papillote© John Cullen

A Perfect Shot

Nikole Herriott's blog, Forty-Sixth at Grace has some of the web's best food photos, styled with kitchen tools she sells online. Here, her pretty halibut in parchment.

Halibut and Summer Vegetables en PapilloteSalami-Egg Canapés© Antonis Achilleos

Art of the Canapé

Gustav Klimt and strudel are two icons in chef Kurt Gutenbrunner and food writer Jane Sigal's Neue Cuisine. Out next month, the book celebrates Austrian art and recipes like this deconstructed snack.

Salami-Egg Canapés Park Avenue WinterCourtesy of Park Avenue Winter

Performance Piece

NYC's Park Avenue Winter kicked off its artist-chef series with Volcano Flambé, conceived by Marina Abramovic´ and served with her tasting notes on an MP3 player. Up next for fall: a dish from conceptual artist Michael Rakowitz. Fudgsicle Art© Winni Wintermeyer

Fudgsicle Art

Ellsworth Kelly's Stele I in SFMOMA's sculpture garden takes edible form in Caitlin Williams Freeman's Fudgsicle, at the museum cafe.

The New Food Artists

Photographs

 ImagingCourtesy of Andy Ellison

Food Imaging
MRI technologist Andy Ellison began scanning produce in the lab as a way to warm up the machines. The ethereal, ghostly images were so beautiful he began posting them on his blog, Inside Insides. Cheese in Focus© Wil Edwards

Cheese in Focus
The Cheese School of San Francisco instructor Wil Edwards wants people "to see cheese with fresh eyes." His close-up photos of rinds have been mistaken for microbial slides and abstract paintings.  Sandwich ScansCourtesy of Jon Chonko

Sandwich Scans
"I try to capture the view of a sandwich right before you take a bite," says graphic designer Jon Chonko. He shares his scans of more than 100 bisected sandwiches on Scanwiches.com and in a book, due out in November.

Paintings

 Cow to CanvasCourtesy of Sergio Lobato

From Cow to Canvas
"I get hypnotized by marbling and fat," says painter Sergio Lobato. His Abbatoir series includes images of beef carcasses as well as cuts, like Steak #7. "I wanted to preserve that second you look at a steak and say, 'Wow, that's a beautiful cut of meat.' " sergiolobato.com. Joël Penkman popsiclesCourtesy of Joël Penkman

Pop Art Popsicles
Like an Anglophile version of pastry-loving painter Wayne Thiebaud, Joël Penkman creates lovingly nostalgic still-lifes of retro English sweets like cream biscuits and trifle. His Fab ice lollies depict 1960s-era ice pops combining vanilla ice cream and strawberry fruit ice with a chocolate-and-sprinkles-dipped top. joelpenkman.com.

Mixed Media

 Diem Chau Embroidered PlatesCourtesy of Diem Chau

Embroidered Plates
Using photos of distant relatives as a starting point, Seattle artist Diem Chau embroiders simple figures and portraits on old porcelain plates, cups and saucers that she buys at thrift shops. diemchau.com. Anna Garforth© Anna Garforth

Cookie Catchphrases
British artist Anna Garforth uses slogans and unusual materials—such as grass, masking tape, moss, trash or homemade cookies—to create typographic art and posters. crosshatchling.co.uk. Subodh GuptaCourtesy of Hauser & Wirth, Copyright: Subodh Gupta

Humble Beginnings
Artist Subodh Gupta turns traditional everyday Indian objects, like tiffin tins (lunch boxes) and milk pails, into massive sculptures. saatchi-gallery.co.uk.

Food Artists: Wine Bottles Worth Collecting

 Zarb ChampagneZarb This new Dutch company hires artists to produce trippy packages—like the fire extinguisher bottle—for its Champagnes. $50; zarbchampagne.com. Taittinger WineTaittinger Senegalese artist Amadou Sow designed the bottle for a limited release of Taittinger's 2002 vintage. $350; taittinger.com.  Eric Kent WinesEric Kent Wine Cellars The Sonoma producer commissions original artworks, like this abstract piece by Margaret Chavigny, for every line. $42; erickentwines.com.

Photos (left to right): Courtesy of Zarb Champagne, © Antonis Achilleos, Courtesy of Eric Kent Wines

Food Artists: Table Art

Crystal-Clear Style

Fornasetti and Steuben are bringing in art-world superstars to help them create striking glassware. FornasettiCourtesy of Fornasetti.com

Architect Vases British architect Nigel Coates designed Tête à Tête "Lei" and "Lui" ("she" and "he") vases for Fornasetti. From $1,050; barneys.com. Sculpted GlassCourtesy of Stueben

Sculpted Glass Sculptor Tom Sachs worked with Steuben to create a Champagne coupe cheekily named "Baby's First Cocktail." $125; steuben.com.

Plates That Pop

 Diane von FurstenbergAngular and assymetrical, Diane von Furstenberg's "Brushstroke" plates have a graffiti-like energy. $20; dvf.com. Damien HirstArtist Damien Hirst made china plates to accompany an exhibit of his famous butterfly paintings .$20,000 for 12; gagosian.com.  Campana BrothersBrazil's Campana brothers created porcelain plates for Bernardaud with collages of their furniture design. $440 for a set of 6; bernardaud.com. Astrid SylwanStockholm artist Astrid Sylwan produced a bright, bold pattern for Marimekko. $75 plywood tray; marimekko.com. Todd OldhamTodd Oldham's dishes for Fishs Eddy feature the maritime-inspired illustrations of the late artist Charley Harper. $15; fishseddy.com.

Photos (left to right) courtesy: dvf.com, othercriteria.com, bernardaud.com, Marimekko, fishseddy.com

Graphic Books

 Menu Design in AmericaCourtesy of Taschen

New food books give words and visuals equal emphasis. Penguin UK's Great Food series reissues classic works from writers like Samuel Pepys and Pellegrino Artusi, adding beautiful new covers inspired by vintage ceramics. Sara Fanelli's The Onion's Great Escape is a kids' book that folds out into a 3-D, Technicolor onion, and Menu Design In America (left) looks at nearly 800 era-defining menus from 1850 to 1985.

Food Artists: Art By the Crate

An innovative project aims to do for artists what CSAs do for farmers—sell their products to so-called shareholders. Art by the CrateCourtesy of Amy Rice

What's an art CSA?

Laura Zabel of Springboard for the Arts: "It's Community Supported Art—an acronym, like the one for Community Supported Agriculture. But instead of receiving local produce each month, shareholders get a box with three pieces of local art. We sell 50 shares at $300 apiece. We don't want to be the factory farm of art."

What kind of art do shareholders get?

LZ: "In Minneapolis, where we're based, Amy Rice made a beautiful print. Liz Miller, who normally works in huge, 3-D formats with felt, produced 50 small prints. Karl Unnasch created 50 original stained-glass pieces. One subscriber liked them so much he commissioned three more. With help from [Miami art collector] Dennis Scholl, we're now replicating the project in eight more cities."

Do you ever mix food and art?

LZ: "We turn the art pick-up into a party. In St. Paul, Black Dog made kebabs with vegetables from the farmers' market. Even the beer was local." springboardforthearts.org.

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