On Wednesday, November 16, 1949, President Harry S. Truman had the shah of Iran to tea. The shopping list for the meal included one chicken, two packages of cream cheese, bourbon, scotch, and juice oranges. By contrast, on October 15, 1947, the same president lunched alone, feasting on a fruit cup, cottage-cheese salad, and, for dessert, a floating island. For dinner, he had a club sandwich.
The menus of nearly every day of Truman’s presidency, which started in 1945, have been preserved in the National Archives in Washington, DC, ever since his second term ended, in 1953. Some of them were recently unearthed by the Paris-based filmmaker Benjamin Crotty, and found their way to Oslo for his first solo exhibition, where they appeared printed on sheets of acetate alongside blown-up images of fruits, coffee beans, and other food items. Crotty’s series “Menu No. 1–15,” 2016, ignites the
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.