Locking eyes with a truly tantalizing artwork can feel like gazing longingly at a delectable dish. Your heart beats faster, drooling may occur, and it becomes nearly impossible to focus on anything but the intoxicating colors and textures just beyond your grasp. Both visual experiences can result in a fierce and unshakeable bodily reaction, turning the rest of the world's stimuli into an irrelevant blur. But when the prospective artwork is itself about food, you're really in trouble.
Peter Blume (1906-1992), Vegetable Dinner, 1927, Oil on canvas, Art © The Educational Alliance, Inc./Estate of Peter Blume/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum Purchase
A new exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum in Texas, entitled "Art and Appetite," explores the magical chemistry that takes place when edibles meet acrylics -- or oils, watercolors, etc. The exhibition spans American artists' longtime obsession with food and the culture that surrounds it, from gluttonous Baroque feasts to sterile columns of pristine confections.
Yet the culinary-centric depictions tackle a broader subject matter than just what's on the menu. In many works, food serves as a lens through which to analyze political, social, cultural and economic relations in the air. While Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want" hints at the socioeconomic hardships of the era, Roy Lichtenstein's "Turkey" glorifies the alien beauty of a classic, American consumer good. We have to admit, even a two-dimensional Pop Art turkey looks pretty delicious.
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Turkey, 1961, Oil on canvas, © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, Private collection
The exhibition contains 60 mouthwatering works, including classics like Andy Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans" and Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks." Whether you like your dinner Cubist, realist or a tad surreal, you won't be disappointed. Check out a preview of the exhibition below to get a taste of the delicacies that await you.
Richard Estes (b. 1932), Food City, 1967, Oil on Masonite, © Richard Estes, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York, Akron Art Museum, Museum Acquisition Fund
William J. McCloskey (1859-1941), Wrapped Oranges, 1889, Oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, acquisition in memory of Katrine Deakins, Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1961-1985
Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825), Still Life-Strawberries, Nuts, and Citrus, 1822, Oil on wood panel, Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field
Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Nighthawks, 1942, Oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection
Gerald Murphy (1888-1964), Cocktail, 1927, Oil on canvas, Art © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Whitney Museum of American Art. Purchase, with funds from Evelyn and Leonard A. Lauder, Thomas H. Lee and the Modern Painting and Sculpture Committee
Norman Rockwell (1894–1978), Freedom from Want, 1942, Oil on canvas, © SEPS by Curtis Licensing. All Rights Reserved. Lent Courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust
Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920), Salad, Sandwiches and Dessert, 1960, Oil on canvas, Art © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Lent by the Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NAA–Thomas C. Woods Memorial
Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004), Still Life No. 15, 1962, Oil, printed papers, photograph on canvas, Art © Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Lent by the Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, UNL–Gift of Mrs. Olga N. Sheldon
"Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine" runs until May 18, 2014 at the Amon Carter Museum in Texas.