Author Archives: Kristina

About Kristina

Kristina C. Mody lives in San Francisco. She likes to write, cook, and write about cooking, and gets to indulge in both over at Another Freaking Cooking Blog. She's a recovering English major, so is in the middle of three books at any given time. Her resolutions for 2011 are to bake a passable pie crust from scratch and improve her (admittedly wretched) bowling game.

You are what you eat

Walk up from your laptop and take a look inside your refrigerator.

What can you tell about you, or your household, from gazing inside?

Mark Menjivar takes pictures of the inside of peoples’ fridges. Each photo has a one sentence caption, like “Food Artist | New York, New York | 1-Person Household | Runs a vegan bakery from her apartment.”

The collection is captivating. And inspired me to clean out some leftovers.

College Students| Waco, TX | 3-Person Household | Drummer for death metal band.

Community Volunteer | San Angelo, TX | 1-Person Household | Completely blind and lives alone.

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Cocktail Culture

Evening dress, 1939 (Elizabeth Hawes)

If you’re fortunate to be in the neighborhood of the Rhode Island School of Design before July 31, do us all a favor and check out the “Cocktail Culture” exhibit, running until July 31.

The collection focuses on the fashion and design of “cocktailing” – referring to early prohibition (1920) to the early 1980s.

There are beautiful examples of barware, sleek interpretations of shakers and tumblers that evoke modern American skyscrapers.

And how could you have cocktail hour without the eponymous dress? My favorite is Elizabeth Hawes’ 1939 gown, which looks like an elegant olive.

The exhibit only runs for another month, but check out the museums’ image sheet and a historical rundown here. It’ll drive you to drink in the most positive way.

Cocktail shaker, 1928

Ring Pop Art by Julia Chiang

Ring pop art by Julia Chiang courtesy Design Boom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your food is fluorescent, let’s be honest, you’re probably not eating from the recommended five food groups.

Artist Julia Chiang honors our childhood addition to neon food – namely, candy  – in her Ring Pop series.

The installation is composed of hundreds of Ring Pops, arranged in shapes, and let to melt under the lights of the gallery.

It’s a delicious and bright melding of taste and color.

Also!
Don’t forget to check out Artlarking’s Neon/Nature event, Saturday June 4!

Ring pop art by Julia Chiang, courtesy Design Boom

Ring pop art by Julia Chiang, courtesy Design Boom

Project Neon!’s Quest for the Best Neon Signs

When you’re driving at night on a long trip, there’s nothing more comforting than a neon sign illuminating the landscape. Nowadays you can travel hundreds of miles and see the same corporate institutions represented over and over, but there are still pockets of fabulous luminous signage.

Project Neon! is a new blog that profiles neon signs all over New York City. There are great pictures and stories about the signs that evoke another era of Americana.

Nathan’s Famous (courtesy Project Neon)

From the site’s about page:

Follow a girl as she follows the glow in search of New York’s best neon signs. Every week I’ll visit another of New York City’s neon-clad establishments and post a photo & story, and tell you more about why I’m traipsing around this metropolis in the cold & dark to visit pharmacies, shoe repair stores, and bars with good neon signs to buy cough syrup, get my shoes repaired or just have a drink.

Sunny's Bar, courtesy Project Neon

Definitely worth a browse for history and visual art buffs alike.

Interested?

Browse more over at Project Neon! They are also on Kickstarter (with video!) here.

Also!
Don’t forget to check out Artlarking’s Neon/Nature event, Saturday June 4!

The Art of Food Photography

Do you take pictures of your food in restaurants? Or maybe when you’ve made something especially delicious at home, to be able to look back fondly at that one time you cooked?

Edward W. Quigley, "Peas in a Pod" (1935) courtesy Getty.edu

Photography, so instantaneously gratifying, is perhaps best suited to capture the brief moments of an edible dish, from pan to plate. But so often we see it in the context of selling something (ads) or telling us how to do something (recipes) that it’s easy to forget food as a subject allows photographers to challenge their viewers by rendering a familiar object exotic.

Edward W. Quigley was one such artist, working both as a commercial and independent artist in the United States in the 1930s. His 1935 vision of peas is practically abstract, playing with sense of proportion and size.

William Eggleston, "Dinner" courtesy London Food Film Fiesta

William Eggleston is best known as one of the great innovators in color photography. His picture “Dinner” captures a weeknight meal, the pinks and dull greens staring down the viewer. This food is not meant to be appetizing.

Want more? 

If you’re into food on film, check out the Getty Museum’s 2010 show In Focus: Tasteful Pictures, and a write-up of a panel discussing the show. London Food Film Fiesta also has additional artists to check out.

Call for submissions! GOOD Challenges You to Redesign the Food Label.

Is this easy for you to read?

Food labels are confusing, fact. I personally experienced this recently when, during a particularly busy week, I treated myself to one of those “inspiration waters”– you know, the ones that claim that they will increase the intelligence of your unborn children. Or whatever.

Little did I realize, until deciphering the label, that I had consumed 400 calories and almost half my recommended sugar for the day! Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t make that choice again (’cause I probably would; it was delicious), but having a clearer nutrition label would make the whole process easier. And with childhood obesity on the rise in the US, it’s not an isolated issue anymore.

(Image courtesy of Good Magazine)

One solution? GOOD magazine is calling on artists and designers to see if they can come up with a better food label. Check out the details on the contest page here. Submissions are open until July 1. So get cracking!!

Can food be art?

Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963, courtesy the National Gallery of Art

A critic over at The Guardian, Jonathan Jones, wrote recently that food and fashion, because they get consumed either in or on the body, are not great art. He writes:

Art is of the mind; it is ethereal. Everything it gives us it gives to our brains. Fashion and food fail to be serious art because they are trapped in the physical world. Compare a still-life painting of food – one of those rich, laden Dutch images of lobsters and lemons – with a real plate of food. The painting is very obviously not food – it does not give what food gives. But it does nourish something deeper instead. It reaches the parts of us that chefs and couturiers cannot reach.

It’s an interesting, if not entirely new, concept. He points out that that chefs like Ferran Adrià at El Bulli create innovative, challenging dishes. But can they challenge you, teach you, or illuminate truths about the world around you? Put simply, have you ever been so affected by food as to have it change your life?

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, 2010 (courtesy designboom.com)

I would respond by saying that art is about context. Thousands of sunflower seeds in my closet is just messy. As arranged by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the Tate Modern, it is most definitely art.

Jones’ argument also takes a pretty narrow view on the meaning of art. Not all art is Great, and meant to tackle life’s deepest questions. Art also brings people together through creative expression. It can come from tentative strumming on a banjo, or designing a new outfit, or creating something in the kitchen that you haven’t before. There’s more to be gained by considering them all art, rather than none.