Behold an art show that comes complete with a 'consume by' date
Most gallery shows frown on visitors touching the exhibits, let alone ingesting them.
This won’t be the case with “Eat Me: An Edible Group Exhibition,” which takes place at 934 Gallery on Friday, Dec. 6. (A small “leftover” showing will take place on Saturday — the final chance for attendees to quite literally take in the displays.)
Brainstormed by co-curators Sarah Achor and Kathryn Seyerle, "Eat Me" features contributions from more than 20 artists, all of which are constructed almost exclusively of foodstuff. Of those, nearly a third will be available for gallery visitors to consume in some form. Achor plans to make gingerbread cookie “trees” to complement her gingerbread and sugar glass waterfall, an edible tribute to a friend who died, while Seyerle has constructed topiary-like landscapes of cloths died with teabags, red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins and the like. Another exhibitor, Zachary Pennington, has plans to make a sourdough sculpture, with secondary loaves available for audience sampling.
“When he was describing it to me, it was so beautiful. He loves all the variables of sourdough, and how you have to do different things with it based on everything down to the weather that day for it to turn out right,” said Achor, who joined Seyerle for an early December interview Downtown.Don't you tell me that you're full/Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it/Get yourself an egg and beat it. Sign up for our daily newsletter
Though most exhibitors — some of whom have been pulled from outside of the art world — are working with unfamiliar materials, the processes employed have a tendency to reflect their given trades. Achor, for one, is a photographer, and there’s a science to the craft (dialing in camera settings and processing film require strict adherence to procedure) that translates to baking, where it’s all about precision. Seyerle, in contrast, described herself as more of a “found objects artist,” and her method of dyeing, shaping and changing fabrics mirrored her loose, experimental approach to creation.
The two, who have co-curated December shows at 934 for three years now, hit on the “Eat Me” concept shortly after last year’s “Underwater” event, though the nature of their latest exhibit limited the number of submissions. In addition to the unfamiliarity of working with food, artists had to be more mindful of availability, with some pieces being constructed as late as the day of the event to prevent spoilage.
"It's a more challenging theme for people to think about and create for, because the pieces can be time sensitive where people are like, 'Oh, am I going to have time [to construct it] that week?'" Seyerle said.
The two are also taking steps to minimize waste; displays that can’t be consumed will be composted, and there will be glass plates and mugs available for visitors rather than disposable dishes. “Eat Me” will also coincide with a food drive.
“We didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh, this is just wasting food,’” Achor said.
The theme is so pervasive that even the musical accompaniment will have a culinary flavor. Achor and Seyerle worked with local composer, musician and engineer Matt Morton, who scored “Apollo 11,” among other full-length features, to record the sounds of chopping, chomping and chewing, which Morton then weaved into an audible arrangement that will loop in one of the gallery’s small rooms, meaning listeners averse to slurping sounds will be able to slink away, if needed.
“I was like, I don’t want to aggravate people, because some people are really sensitive to chewing noises,” Achor said, and laughed.
As with past events the two have staged together, the biggest motivator was simply stretching the boundaries of art, and trying to inject a bit of light and playfulness during a season when darkness settles in by 6 p.m.
“It’s the end of the year, and everything feels drab,” Seyerle said.
“So it’s good to have something fun and maybe a little out of character for people to do and experience,” Achor added.