Charlotte Birnbaum

  • Giacomo-Maria Giovannini (after Marc’Antonio Chiarini), centerpiece for the banquet of Senator Francesco Ratta, 1693, etching, 15 3/4 × 21 3/4". Frontispiece from Disegni del convito (Designs of the Banquet) (Bologna: Per li Peri, 1693).

    “The Edible Monument: the Art of Food for Festivals”

    “THIS GRAFFITI-ARTIST-TURNED-CHEF Is Lighting Up the Paris Restaurant Scene,” reads a typical gastronomical write-up today. Whether cooking on a remote Swedish mountain or in a laboratory-like kitchen, the contemporary master chef prefers to be portrayed as an artist. And perhaps even more than an old-fashioned Michelin star, a massive tome from a major art publisher seems to be a mandatory requirement. Yet if the dialogue between food and art is livelier than ever, last year’s mammoth survey “Arts and Foods—Rituals Since 1851” at the Milan Triennale made it abundantly clear that the

  • Antoine Vollon, Mound of Butter, 1875–85, oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 24".

    Mary Ann Caws’s Modern Art Cookbook

    The Modern Art Cookbook, by Mary Ann Caws. London: Reaktion Books, 2013. 256 pages.

    “CAN YOU TASTE / WHAT I’M SAYING?” asks poet Philip Levine. It is this everyday intermingling of the senses that literary and art historian Mary Ann Caws explores in The Modern Art Cookbook. This is where I come across Levine’s question, and his corresponding reply, which demonstrates that synesthesia—the effect one sense can have on another—is able to open up otherwise unknown labyrinths of sensual knowledge:

    It is onions or potatoes, a pinch

    of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is obvious,

  • Rodney Graham, Betula Pendula “Fastigiata” (Sous-Chef on Smoke Break), 2011, color transparency with light box, 95 1/2 x 71 1/2 x 7".

    “Studio + Kitchen = Laboratories of the Senses”

    In pursuit of new sensorial experiences, artists and chefs often require specially designed workspaces—ones that, as far back as history tracks, have never not been at the very center of our civilization.

    In pursuit of new sensorial experiences, artists and chefs often require specially designed workspaces—ones that, as far back as history tracks, have never not been at the very center of our civilization. This summer, guest curator Hubertus Gaßner (director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle) explores the institutional genealogy of these two sites, surveying the changing nature of atelier and kitchen alongside the correlating transformations of the items they produce. Seemingly distinct, the histories of food and art intersect in many fascinating ways, including the

  • Albert Adrià and Mateu Casañas, El Bulli, Cala Montjoi, Spain. Photo: Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun.

    Futurist cooking

    ON JANUARY 4, 1931, under the drastic headline “Assails Macaroni as Bane of Italy,” the New York Times spelled out the consequences of the gastronomic revolution proposed by F. T. Marinetti in his “Manifesto of Futurist Cooking,” which had just appeared in Turin’s Gazzetta del Popolo and caused a stir around the world. Marinetti’s culinary polemic advocated the introduction of scientific methods in the kitchen—a “cooking laboratory” replete with chemicals, ultraviolet lamps, electrolysis, and the development of new devices such as the “ozonizer” to highlight olfactory sensations. A rapid