Mary Ann Caws,
a professor of comparative literature, English and French at the City University of New York, will give a talk at 6 p.m. tonight on her book, "The Modern Art Cookbook,"
at the Arkansas Arts Center as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival. Brad Cushman
, gallery director at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will be moderating.
Matisse, Picasso, Hockney — they may not have been from the same period, but they all painted still lifes of food. And they are not alone. Andy Warhol painted soup cans, Claes Oldenburg sculpted an ice cream cone on the top of a building in Cologne, Jack Kerouac’s Sal ate apple pie across the country, and Truman Capote served chicken hash at the Black and White Ball. Food has always played a role in art, but how well and what did the artists themselves eat? Exploring a panoply of artworks of food, cooking, and eating from Europe and the Americas, The Modern Art Cookbook opens a window into the lives of artists, writers, and poets in the kitchen and the studio throughout the twentieth century and beyond.
From the early moderns to the impressionists; from symbolists to cubists and surrealists; from the Beats to the abstractionists of the New York School, Mary Ann Caws surveys how artists and writers have eaten, cooked, and depicted food. She examines the parallels between the art of cuisine and the visual arts and literature, using artworks, diaries, novels, letters, and poems to illuminate the significance of particular ingredients and dishes in the lives of the world’s greatest artists. In between, she supplies numerous recipes from these artists—including Ezra Pound’s poetic eggs, Cézanne’s baked tomatoes, and Monet’s madeleines—alongside one hundred color illustrations and thought-provoking selections from both poetry and prose. A joyous and illuminating guide to the art of food, The Modern Art Cookbook is a feast for the mind as well as the palate.
Caws' website says that "one of her primary themes has been the relationship between image and text."
The event is free to Arts Center members, $5 for non-members. If you want to make it dinner and a talk, you can dine at Best Impressions
, which is offering a $20 artists buffet. Reserve at 907-5946.