A few months ago, Dana Sherwood went shopping for a dinner party. On her list were pigs' tails, a three-foot ox liver, a whole chicken and mangoes. She spent a week preparing an al fresco feast including carne de sol and traditional Brazilian street meats. Then, on the appointed evening, her guests arrived one by one: an ocelot, a fox, bats and blue morpho butterflies. Tropical falcons swooped down and snatched bits of fish off a platter.
For Sherwood, an artist whose work involves cooking elaborate meals for animals all around the world, it was a resounding success. “My favorite part was getting that ocelot. I hesitated about putting the raw chicken out because that’s so taboo for humans, but it ended up being the most enticing thing,” she says. “That’s my main concern, how can I get their interest?”
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I’m interested in the cross-section of nature and culture ... I think of the animals as collaborators.
Sherwood, a former pastry chef, studies the foods appropriate for local species, then designs a menu accordingly and watches as the animals feast on her sculptural creations. Afterward, she displays photographs, videos and watercolors based on the meals. Her latest body of work—from a meaty picnic in the Brazilian savanna—will go on view at Denny Gallery in New York from January 10 to February 21.