The Akron Art Museum will present drawings, paintings, ceramics, collage, prints, photographs and sculpture drawn primarily from the collection—with additional loans from regional artists and collectors—all of which approach the subject of food through humor, pop culture and nostalgia. “Snack” will be on view in from Jan. 16 to Sept. 3, 2016.
“We all need to eat. Food is essential to our survival, but it’s also a sign of celebration, a source of pleasure and a profitable industry,” said Akron Art Museum Associate Curator Theresa Bembnister. “The universal nature of food makes it an appropriate subject to critically examine themes common to contemporary art, such as politics, commerce and the intersection of art and life.”
“Snack” includes prints from the 1960s by Pop artists Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and James Rosenquist. Warhol’s 1966 screen print, “Campbell’s Tomato Soup,” is emblazoned on a paper shopping bag. Warhol depicts the soup can in a graphic style that became synonymous with the Pop Art movement, which drew its imagery from popular culture. The artist chose as his subject a machine-produced and mass-marketed food, recreating it at a larger-than-life scale with a blue outline filled with vivid yellow, red and purple. Warhol may have been influenced by his own personal experience; he told an interviewer that he drank Campbell’s soup for lunch every day for twenty years.
“Campbell’s Tomato Soup” will be displayed alongside works by artists including Ken Heyman, John Sokol, Sandy Skoglund, Brandon Juhasz and Ralph Steiner, who sprinkle some humor in their depiction of food through visual puns or a sense of the absurd.
A poster by the Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous activist artists who combat racism and sexism through collaboratively produced works, uses a food-related gag to broach serious a topic.
Prints by John Baeder and Don Eddy and photographs by Louis Stettner and Stephen Tomasko explore our emotional connections to the past through the places where we eat, or once ate.
Works by Philippe Halsman, Robert Doisneau, Kristen Cliffel and Charles Bell will also be on display.
“Snack” also marks the debut of “Pepperoni and Sausage,” by Cleveland artist Mike Sobeck. “Pepperoni and Sausage” immortalizes an Akron institution: a Luigi’s Restaurant pizza slice as an oil portrait on canvas. The painting was commissioned by the restaurant specifically for this exhibition.
In concert with the Snack exhibition, a number of exhibition-related programs have been planned for all ages:
Tots Create: Process Yogurt Painting for 2’s and 3’s and their grown-ups
Saturday, Jan. 16 • 10:30 a.m. to noon
Art Tales: Impossible Tasty Tales for all ages and their grown-ups
Thursday, Jan. 21 • 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Art Babes: Tasting with the Eyes
for 0 to 18-month-olds and their grown-ups
Thursday, Jan. 28 • AM Session: 11:15 a.m. to noon; PM Session: 1 to 1:45 p.m.
Reading Under The Roof Cloud Book Club: Delicious By Ruth Reichl
Thursday, March 24 • 6 p.m.
Model Magic Food inspired by Snack
Thursday, April 28 • 7 to 9 p.m.
For info, visit www.akronartmuseum.org.