February 4 – April 25, 2015
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Visualized is a vibrant exhibition of high quality works showcasing a range of styles and produced in diverse media by internationally renowned, as well as some lesser known, emerging talent. The works selected will reflect the specific content within key chapters in Michael Pollan’s food-centric book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. The Contemporary Art Galleries exhibition, curated by CAG’s Director, Barry Rosenberg, responds to Pollan’s best selling book published in 2006, and is being presented in conjunction with this year’s UCONN READS campus wide initiative. In keeping with past UCONN READS exhibitions that drew from Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof, and Sheryl WuDunn and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, The Great Gatsby, this year’s exhibition reflects specific content from key chapters of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Pollan writes about agriculture— specifically the farming of corn and wheat—to reveal the economic realities and destructive health issues associated with genetically modified corn and wheat, and how these grains are processed. He “demonstrates” what happens by purchasing a cow that is grazing at a ranch in the West, later to be shipped to a feedlot in Chicago where it is fattened on corn before ending up at a slaughterhouse. Pollan also writes about foraging for mushrooms, pig hunting, and what it really means when you grab a Big Mac and fries on a road trip. The cooking of a very special dinner presents more startling revelations and new perspectives about food.
For the CAG exhibition, Rosenberg has chosen works of art that explore similar topics and aim to challenge viewers, just as Pollan has done with his book. The subject matter embodies a full range of ideas pertaining to food and the preparation of special meals. As Pollan’s writings affirm, meals become social events, to be enjoyed by family and friends, and partaken in the context of life’s rewarding moments. Several artists’ works honor the cultural traditions of special occasion meals and foods. In contrast, one artist’s starkly beautiful photographs of another kind of “special meal” illuminates what Death Row inmates have requested for their last meal.
Janine Antoni, Robert Beck, Mia Brownell, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Mat Colishaw, Sharon Core, David Allee, Agnes Denes, Melissa Eder, Keith Edmier, Roe Ethridge, Robert Gober, Colin McMullan, Frank Moore, John O’Donnell, Roxy Paine, Simon Periton, Scott Reeder , Alexis Rockman and Ruud von Empel
Food for Thought – A dialogue
Dr. Jennifer Harris
Dr. Harris is Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. She will discuss the extent and impact of children’s exposure to food advertising and communicate that information to the health community, parents and policy makers.
Dr. Anne D’Alleva
Department Head of the Art & Art History Department will speak to current discourses in contemporary art.
Keith Edmier and Rachel Lee Hovnanian
Both Edmier and Hovnanian are represented in the CAG’s exhibition and will discuss their work focusing how their art relates to Pollan’s book.
Dr. Michael P. O’Neill
Associate Dean for Academic Programs College of Agriculture, Health & Natural Resources. Mike’s research programs focus on the nexus of food, energy, environment, and water.
Nihoul is a former professional New York City chef and is now an assistant curator at the Benton Art Museum. His extensive scholarship on food as an art form will greatly add to the conversation.
* The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Visualized is being co-sponsor by the UCONN READS Steering Committee.