Snack is a (mostly) lighthearted look at works drawn primarily from the Akron Art Museum collection that depict food or the places we buy and consume it through humor, pop culture and nostalgia.
John Sokol, Serial, 1971, Collage on paper, 21 7/8 in. x 28 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Museum Acquisition Fund.
Kristen Cliffel, The Dirty Dozen, 2010, Low fire clay, glaze, lustre, wood and lucite, 32 in. x 23 in. x 23 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the artist in honor of Mitchell D. Kahan
Claes Oldenburg, Flying Pizza, 1964, Lithograph on paper, 21 1/2 in. x 16 1/2 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Museum Acquisition Fund.
Stephen Tomasko, Untitled from the series Fairgrounds, 2013, pigment print, 24 x 18 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Louis Stettner, Steak Diner, NY, 2000, gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Dr. George Thomsen.
Andy Warhol, Campbell's Tomato Soup, 1966, Screenprint on shopping bag, 24 in. x 17 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Museum Acquisition Fund.
"I would encourage anyone to set their cup of coffee down, wrap some aluminum foil around that sandwich, put one of those clip things on that bag of chips and go and see Snack as well as the rest of the shows at the museum for yourself." —Anderson Turner, "Savor 'Snack' Exhibit at the Akron Art Museum," Akron Beacon Journal
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. 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 is a (mostly) lighthearted look at works drawn primarily from the Akron Art Museum collection that depict food or the places we buy and consume it through humor, pop culture and nostalgia.
Andy Warhol’s 1966 screenprint, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, is emblazoned on a paper shopping bag. The soup can made iconic by Warhol is depicted in a graphic style synonymous with Pop Art, a movement arising in the 1950s and 60s that drew its imagery from popular culture. Warhol 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. By screenprinting a commercial product on a functional shopping bag, the artist called attention to the soup’s dollar value and the way in which it was distributed and purchased. 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 and Ralph Steiner, who sprinkle some humor on 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 topics. Screenprints by John Baeder and photographs by Louis Stettner explore our emotional connections to the past through the places where we once ate.
This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum.
Associate Curator Theresa Bembnister talks to WAKR's Jasen Sokol about Snack.