Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography

Lemonade and Fruit Salad
Nickolas Muray, Lemonade & Fruit Salad, 1948

Exhibition curated by Susan Bright and Denise Wolff

Photographs of food are rarely just about food. They hold our lives and time up to the light. Food can signify a lifestyle or a nation, hope or despair, hunger or excess. Ultimately, food is not only about literal taste, but also Taste with a capital T–both the lifestyles we aspire to and the building blocks of culture itself.—Susan Bright

Feast for the Eyes explores the rich history of how food has been photographed. From basic sustenance to decadent feasts, food awakens the senses and touches both private and public life. This exhibition invites the viewer through three dynamic themes to investigate food’s complexity of form and meaning. “Still Life” looks at the enduring artistic tradition first taken from painting. This section examines how artists have followed, borrowed from, or subverted the genre, and how it resonates on a series of different registers over time. “Around the Table” looks at the ritual and belonging that take place when food is shared, and also the values and cultural identity reflected in images of food. “Playing with Your Food” shows, through a range of expression, how when humor and play are combined with the most common of subject matters, the resulting works hold our lives and times up to the light for examination.

Charles Jones, Melon Sutton’s Superlative, c. 1900

The exhibition and accompanying book (published June 2017), trace the progression of the genre from the late nineteenth century to present day through artists including Roger Fenton, Nickolas Muray, Victor Keppler, Edward Weston, Irving Penn, Stephen Shore, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nobuyoshi Araki, Sophie Calle, and Martin Parr, to name a few.

This exhibition is available March 2018 through 2021 at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York.