Modern Food Art: Moving Past Still Lifes

fish food art

Combining food and art isn’t a new concept. Take a walk through the rooms of some of the world’s most famous museums, and you’ll see that the walls are lined with still lifes depicting fruit, bread and sometimes even meat. Food has always been a centerpiece of society, and art has always reflected this. But the art world is changing just as rapidly as the food world; when the two combine, modern food art is created, a realm of creativity that adds new meaning to the term “culinary arts.”

Recently, food art has been appearing all over the world, in many forms and venues. Here are just three examples of how food art is changing and developing on a global scale.

1. Food Art and Community with Greenpeace and Ida Frosk

ida frosk

Image by Ida Frosk, care of Greenpeace

For World Food Day, Greenpeace decided to bring food art made by food artist Ida Frosk to light. Ida, a food artist from Norway, takes her inspiration from many different outlets, including the works famous artists of the past like Monet and Pollock.

Greenpeace has used Ida Frosk’s work to illustrate food stories conveying the work of people aiming to improve food-related issues, such as nutrition, crop diversification, and sustainability. And while Ida’s work is playful, it’s no coincidence that it was chosen to represent and unite these stories.

Today, more than ever, the global community is being asked to participate in aid for the food shortages of distant communities. Ida, who has gained popularity and made a name for herself almost entirely through social media platforms such as Instagram, is the perfect illustration of how, with the right intent and interest, the global community can change the world of people they have never even met.

2. Food Art and Time with Ferment

In Long Beach, California at the end of October, the Long Beach Museum of Art and California State University came together for an experimental art show called “Ferment,” an event that sought to explore and break down the boundaries between art and food, particularly, as the name of the event shows, with regards to fermenting.

Joseph Shuldiner, director of the Institute of Domestic Technology, showed the works of ceramic students intended for fermentation, like crocks and jars. These containers were used to make sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented ginger-bug soda, all of which were fermented for several weeks before being served to attendees of the October event.

This event showed the ways in which, even in a digital, fast-paced age, both art and food can and do remain organic and tied to time. Time is the only way that these recipes can be finalized: the traditional vessels need to be created and dried, and authentic fermented recipes rely on time to be completed.

3. Food Art and Waste with Emballages alimentaires

emballages alimentaires

Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Michèle Favareille

When discussing today’s food industry, it’s important not to forget one extra element: packaging. In France, an art exhibition turned packaging to art with the Emballages alimentaires or food packaging show.

Andy Warhol is not the only person to have decided that food packaging could be linked to art. But today, the story behind these packages is slightly more polemical. The exhibit in Paris explores the history of the food packaging industry, followed by examples of progress in recycling and use of biodegradable materials as well as technology in food packaging.

Activities for children, families and adults allow visitors to discover the truth of modern food packaging and volunteer their own ideas, to reduce waste and make packaging more environmentally friendly for the future.

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Image: Pdpcs

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco