21: Silvia Bottinelli: Food, Art, Food Art!

Not long after Maurizio Cattelan taped a banana to the wall, John and Elizabeth met with Silvia Bottinelli from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to talk about food as art and art as food. Silvia is a Modern and Contemporary Art historian in the Visual and Material Studies Department at SMFA and her interests range from post-war Italian art to representations of the domestic and the uses of lead in art. We met to discuss the volume The Taste of Art: Cooking, Food and Counterculture in Contemporary Practices which she co-edited with Margherita d’Ayala Valva. The volume is a (forgive me) veritable buffet of delicate savories and sweetmeats and our conversation was similarly rich and far-reaching.

In our aesthetic and culinary wanderings, we talked about Dutch Vanitas Painting, apples

Yoko Ono’s Apple

Allan Kaprow, Apple Shrine

and bananas

a Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby by Kara Walker

and how the seemingly mundane world of food, though its use in art, brings in the biggest questions about fleeting time, fame, value and the market, labor and consumption.

Mentioned in this episode:

Elizabeth Ferry, Minerals, Collecting and Value Across the US-Mexico Border

Maurizio Cattelan, Comedian

Ferran Adrià, Documenta 12

Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power: the Place of Sugar in Modern History

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Futurist Cookbook

Stephanie Smith, Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art

Phyllis Pray Bober, Art, Culture and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy

Peter Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

Listen to the episode here:

Transcript available here:

Spring season preview:  Coming soon, a conversation with anthropologist Ajantha Subramanian about meritocracy and privilege in Indian and US education; an exploration  of the long knotty history of self-help literature; and two episodes about ancient, medieval and modern conceptions of money, wealth and value. One is with noted ancient historian Peter (Through the Eye of a Needle) Brown, and the other is with Christine Desan, who wrote a stunning revisionary account of the governmental origins of the modern monetary system.

Finally, the newest Recall This Book: In Focus will return to science fiction, interviewing a noted American author with a special fondness for the fourth rock from the Sun.

Author: plotznik

I teach English (mainly the novel and Victorian literature) at Brandeis University, and live in Brookline.

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