Sunday, December 23, 2012

Consider the Tondo

Madonna della Seggiola (also known as Madonna della Sedia)Rafael - 1513-1514

Our agenda has changed as we consider Ponder Food as Love as an exhibition. 

We wish to liberate ourselves from gravity and rethink  presentations based on the Cartesian Grid  (a co-ordinate system whose axes are straight lines intersecting at right angles). Activating our upcoming exhibition installation in order to instigate pondering by our audience in a public space has motivated us to consider the tondo.  This format was quite popular in Florentine Renaissance representation of sacred and miraculous relationships. It soon fell out of favor, apparently it was considered too domestic a format to be used in important public spaces.

"The concentric system represents matter or forces of some kind that are concentrated around a center, e.g. the planets circling the sun, or children surrounding their mother...." They are therefore considered complete and unto themselves. 
Madonna and Child by Andrea Della Robia, 1435-1525 

The Holy Family, Michelangelo Buonarotti, ca.1504

 Inquiry into this form at Thinking about Art described
Round things, like bubbles, float...just like the imagined gravity-free beings. Or roll around. They can be anywhere; they are fixed nowhere. And, like a round egg (have you seen spider eggs?), a round (or spherical) object is often a self-contained "world" that has everything it that it needs to sustain itself without having access to anything beyond it. As long as the contents are "sealed into" that round or spherical container, they can exist on their own. Once the bubble breaks, however, they enter our world.... Round artworks are not meant to break. They are meant to be seen as a vision of another world that's not in our world at all and that is never going to be. Something beyond our reach. This is one reason that religious subjects are especially appropriate subjects for round artworks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Inspiration: Ernie Button

Cerealism #30

Cerealism #23

Ernie Button  was recently brought to our attention--a master of cereal photography.

Wondering About the End of an Era...or a New Frontier

A little background on the Culinary Industrial Complex:
A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny at the Scripps Research Institute (2008) suggested that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin.[6] After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure. After the junk food was taken away and replaced with a healthy diet, the rats starved for two weeks instead of eating nutritious fare.[7] 

 November 16, 2012
 from the Corporate Intelligence Blog/Wall Street Journal
 by Tom Gara
And that’s that: Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and more, announced this morning it has filed a motion with bankruptcy court to start liquidating the company immediately. A huge number of jobs are soon to be lost.
“Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce,” said CEO Gregory F. Rayburn in the statement, “and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”
In a letter posted on a new site set up to communicate with employees and suppliers through the liquidation process, Mr. Rayburn pinned the blame on its striking union:
Despite everyone’s considerable efforts to move Hostess out of its restructuring, when we began implementing the Company’s last, best and final offer, the Bakers Union chose to stage a crippling strike. This affected Hostess’ ability to continue to make products and service its customers’ needs and pushed Hostess into a Wind Down scenario. As a result, we are forced to proceed with an orderly wind down and sale of our operations and assets. We deeply regret taking this action. But we simply cannot continue to operate without the ability to produce or deliver our products.
There’s no way to soften the fact that this will hurt every Hostess Brands employee. All Hostess Brands employees will eventually lose their jobs – some sooner than others. Unfortunately, because we are in bankruptcy, there are severe limits on the assistance the Company can offer you at this time.
And for suppliers, the situation is also dire, wrote Rob Kissick, the company’s senior vice president for purchasing:
Any orders in process are cancelled immediately. Any product in transit will be or has been returned to the shipper. We have retained a Wind Down Team that will continue on to assure that the business shuts down in an orderly fashion. It is unknown at this time what will happen to unpaid vendor invoices or whether sufficient funds will be ultimately made available for payment.
There has been no word yet from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers (BCTGM) union that was leading the strike — we’ll update when there is. Also one to watch is the response from the Teamsters Union, whose members earlier voted to accept the new labor deal offered by the company and have not been participating in the strike. Yesterday, the Teamsters said current strike put it in a “horrible position,” where members were being asked to “support a strike that will put them out of a job.”
So does this mean the Twinkie is gone for good? Not necessarily, the WSJ’s Rachel Feintzeig reports:
Adam Hanft, a branding strategist behind Hanft Projects, sees the potential for new life in the death of a decades-old company. A fresh owner of the intellectual property, which includes everything from names to recipes to graphics, could revitalize the Hostess brands, which Mr. Hanft sees as weakened but not lacking potential. He raised the prospect of new flavors, limited-edition Twinkies, products co-branded with independent music groups and the potential for an international reach.
“Its nutritional emptiness in the right hands could be its core strength,” he said, explaining that a buyer that embraces the brand’s “kitschy,” “deliciously retro” feel could be rewarded. He foresees a potentially diverse crowd of bidders for the property.
“It’s the kind of iconic brand that might attract people who might not otherwise be interested in owning a consumer good,” Mr. Hanft said.
Related: Rachel Feintzeig has more on Hostess’s closure on Markets Hub.

Du Jour mention in FEATURE SHOOT

We appreciate this mention in Feature Shoot for our new project, Processed Views, a depiction of  the bountiful frontier of 21st century industrial exploitation. Thanks Alison!

Feature Shoot is run by photo editor and curator Alison Zavos and showcases work from up-and-coming photographers alongside established photographers who have completed a project or whose work has taken on a new direction. The site covers commercial and fine art photography, and is a resource through which photo editors, art directors, art buyers, and people with an interest in photography can discover new talent.
Established in 2008, Feature Shoot has an archive of over 2,000+ international photographers. In 2011, Feature Shoot was selected as a winner of’s 2011 Photo Blog Awards: ‘the Web’s 20 most compelling, most consistently insightful and surprising photography blogs.’
In addition to running Feature Shoot, Alison Zavos is active member of the broader photography community. She has reviewed portfolios for organizations such as ASMP, APA (Advertising Photographers of America) and The Art Directors Club. She has also spoken on various panels discussing topics such as the impact of new media, marketing, press and photography blogs and is a regular contributer to PDN’s Emerging Photographer magazine.
In the summer of 2010, she curated Sea Change, a group show as part of the Wassaic Summer Festival, which featured work from 25 New York photographers. As part of Photoville NYC (2012), Zavos co-curated a group exhibition entitled Underage, which featured work by six young photographers who document the joys and travails of growing up: a time of first loves, experimentation, and the search for belonging.
Recent Press:
The New Yorker (Photo Booth blog): Underage in Photoville, June 21, 2012
PDN: Favorite Sources for New Photography, Photo Annual 2012
Lenscratch: Underage, Young Photographers, June 16, 2012
Lost At E Minor: Underage: a group show of young photographers, June 15, 2012
I Love Texas Photo, Interview with Alison Zavos, May 29, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dialogues Among Giants - Getty Center and Carleton Watkins

"Watkins was best known for his photographs of Yosemite, but he also took his camera to the silver mines of Nevada and Arizona, and up and down the Pacific coast. Throughout his career he applied his understanding of the elements of landscape as art. His early work with mining subjects proved to be excellent training for his eventual vision of landscape as a powerful counterbalance to the fragility of human existence. He harnessed the elements of visual form—line, shape, mass, outline, perspective, viewpoint, and light—to enliven often static motifs in nature."
From the exhibition, Dialogues Among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California at the Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum. Link to an informative slide show and accompanying exhibition publications. 

In Focus: Carleton Watkins

Carleton Watkins in Yosemite

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Inspiration from Carleton Watkins 3 - Progress Report

The Farallon Islands, or Farallones (from the Spanish farall√≥n meaning "pillar" or "sea cliff"), are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, USA. They lie 27 miles (43 km) outside the Golden Gate and 20 miles (32 km) south of Point Reyes, and are visible from the mainland on clear days. The islands are officially part of the City and County of San Francisco, California.
The Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is one of 66 National Wildlife Refuges that have congressionally designated wilderness status. The Farallon Wilderness was established and includes all islands except the Southeast Island for a total of 141 acres.    

One of many of  Carleton Watkins'  Farallon Islands photographs ca. 1869.

sug·ar·loaf  [shoog-er-lohf] 1. a large, usually conical loaf or mass of hard refined sugar: the common form of household sugar until the mid-19th century. 2. anything resembling this in shape.
Working on defining the emotional content of the lighting -- night and day, happy or sad, special treat or painful dental decay.  Which rendering makes your teeth hurt more?

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Developments in the Fast Food Industry

We were just starting to research meat products and pink slime, when these delectable items caught our eyes.
A wonderful distraction.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ponder Inspiration from Carleton Watkins 2

Hampered by the limited size of his traditional camera, Watkins asked a cabinetmaker in 1861 to build a huge camera for him capable of making negatives measuring 18 by 22 inches, called mammoth plates. With this instrument, Watkins was able to capture the enormous scale of the vast landscapes of the American West as well as intricate details. He transported this large, heavy camera, with tripod, glass plates, and a portable darkroom, to the most forbidding spots, and consistently returned with images of superb technical quality.
In 1864 and 1865, Watkins was hired by the geologists Josiah Whitney and William Brewer to make photographs of Yosemite for their California State Geological Survey.

We wanted to capture the enormous scale and intricate detail of the vast landscape of the American adolescent diet.

Ponder Inspiration from Carleton Watkins 1

In an effort to expand the Ponder Food as Love landscapes of nurture into the real world, we began to think of the contemporary landscape of industrialized food production. We were inspired by the work of Carleton Watkins (1829-1916) who moved to California in 1851 and began his photographic work in 1854. 

One of the first to photograph the American West, Watkins' work celebrated the majestic landscapes of California:  the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe, Big Trees, Virginia City, southern California, Arizona, the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, and San Francisco and the Bay Area. His images prompted the U.S. Congress to set aside large areas for national parks.

In 1863 Watkins visited the inaccessible northern California town of Mendocino to document its thriving lumber industry on behalf of its mill owners. Expressing a view held by many nineteenth-century Americans, Watkins depicted industry existing comfortably with nature.

Watkins' photographs were commissioned by corporate interest of the day; the Central Pacific Railroad, lumber and the milling industry and mining.  He documented landscapes ripe for commercial exploitation. We are interested in this use of photography and consider this approach when we address a current frontier of industrial exploitation, the bodies of our children. 

Ponder Editing

Many colleagues have generously given time and brainpower in an effort to help us edit and order this work. Any order for these landscapes of give and take and give and expectation will be very dependent on the format:  the size, the wall, the book or the portfolio.  Their relationship to new, different work about this subject will also effect their order...getting closer we think.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Legacy of Claes Oldenburg as Foodie

Why we love Claes Oldenburg: how he works.
"The key to my work is that it's about my experience," said Mr. Oldenburg, 83, in an interview in Vienna last month. "If I ate BLTs, which I did, I would sooner or later want to create them."
Oldenburg uses the phrase " transformation of my surroundings" and at that scale, he certainly does. A flat and relatively tiny photographs, are already a transformation. From that place we proceede to play with the reference to reality, question it and suggesting alternatives.
[ICONS claes]
Oldenburg, Shoestring Potato Spilling from a Bag, 1966

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Industrial Landscape on T.V.

In 2007 the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored Food For Thought, a study of television food advertising to children in the United States.  "As policymakers, consumer advocates and health organizations have sought to address the increasing problem of childhood obesity in this country, one of the many potential variables they’ve focused on has been the abundance of food advertising seen by children, particularly on TV."

Four Artists - Inspiring Foodscapes

LIZ HICKOK  San Francisco in Jell-O series.

ALEX McLEOD  Well, McLeod does not use food, but inspiring none the less.

CARL WARNER Fairytale foodscapes  and otherscapes.

WILL COTTON, Paintings of cotton candy and more candy and chocolate.

Thinking About the Future and Past Food

Ingenious Stone Age Meat marketed by Bosch....we'd get their refrigerator. See the advertisement on YouTube.

Regarding the future of food, Next Nature tells the story 

"Every time we eat a piece of food, we take a bite out of the world. All these small bites tell a dozen stories. A carton of eggs presents the story of contented hens, a bottle of olive oil the tale of Italian grandmothers. Yet these pastoral scenes barely hide the realities of a food system that leaves one billion people starving and another billion overweight. Moving beyond food-based fictions, how should we react to the truth?"   They have suggested many answers to this question at their website: 
With CandyFab, high-tech confectioners can 3D print with liquid sugar.
Fresh from the Pharm
This Japanese Juice box is camouflaged from modern box designs and tries to convince consumers with its appealing ‘natural’ look. A schoolbook example of biomimicmarketing; marketing a product using images of old nature.
Banana Juice Box