Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography
Curated by Susan Bright and Denise Wolff
Photographs of food are rarely just about food. They hold our lives and time up to the light. Food can signify a lifestyle or a nation, hope or despair, hunger or excess. Ultimately, food is not only about literal taste, but also Taste with a capital T—both the lifestyles we aspire to and the building blocks of culture itself. —Susan Bright
From basic sustenance to decadent feasts, food awakens the senses and touches both private and public life. Eating is one of the most mundane and profane acts, yet it is also central to our rituals, religions, and celebrations. Food reflects our desires and fantasies; it can stand in for sex, be a signal of status, or engage in our politics. As a subject that is commonly at hand, food has been and continues to be widely depicted. Today, photographing your food has never been more popular, and through photo-sharing on social media, photography has become part of the dining experience. And photographs of food—much like food itself—can raise deep-seated questions about issues such as family, tradition, domesticity, wealth, poverty, gender, race, pleasure, revulsion, and consumption.
Featuring photographs from across fine art, fashion, photojournalism, social networking, and advertising, Feast for the Eyes is an international survey that delights in the most ordinary of subjects. This exhibition covers the rich history of how food has been photographed and invites the viewer through three dynamic themes to investigate food’s complexity of form and meaning. “Still Life” looks at the enduring artistic tradition first taken from painting. This section examines how artists have followed, borrowed from, or subverted the genre, and how it resonates on a series of different registers over time. “Around the Table” looks at the ritual and belonging that take place when food is shared, and also the values and cultural identity reflected in images of food. “Playing With Your Food” shows, through a range of expression, how when humor and play are combined with the most common of subject matters, the resulting works hold our lives and times up to the light for examination.
In addition to the photographs, the accompanying cookbooks will give a supplementary visual history, providing vital context to the framed works and illustrating exciting advances in printing and graphic design, revealing how photography changed the function of the cookbook.
This exhibition includes over 100 framed photographs in a variety of sizes as well as two videos. Also included are ephemera items including classic cookbooks and contemporary food journals to be displayed in vitrines, on the wall, and on reading tables for the public to enjoy.
Please contact Annette Booth at [email protected] or (212) 946-7128 to discuss pricing.
This exhibition is available through 2021.
Current Venue List:
Louisiana Museum of Art and Science
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
June 13 – September 16, 2018
December 21, 2018 – March 6, 2019
June – September 2019
The Photographers’ Gallery
October 2019 – January 2020
February 21 – May 3, 2020
image credits: 1. Courtesy the Paul Strand Archive, Lakeville, CT; 2. © Weegee/International Center of Photography; 3. Courtesy The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; 4. Courtesy Private Collection; 6. Bettmann/Getty Images; 7. © Ed Ruscha/courtesy the artist and Gagosian Gallery; 8. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York; 9. © 1978 Sandy Skoglund; Courtesy RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; 10. Courtesy the artist and Rose Gallery, Santa Monica; 11. © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos; 12. Courtesy the artist/© Rinko Kawauchi; 13. Courtesy the artist and James Fuentes Gallery, New York; 14. Courtesy the artist