New York Photo Review
from the NYPR Archives

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Matters of Taste

Food for Thought: A Group Exhibition
Reviewer #1
Chicago by Harry Callahan. Source: robertmann.com
Harry Callahan, "Chicago" c. 1951

If there is anything that photographers like better than eating food it’s... well and then there’s taking pictures of food. The Robert Mann Gallery has put together a tasty selection of food photography spanning a good deal of this and the last century. Although the overall effect is more like a visit to Luby’s Cafeteria than to Le Cirque, it is still possible to have a satisfying (mostly American) visual meal here. So grab a tray and lets take a little of this and a little of that.

The show starts off with an almost classic Berenice Abbott, “Jacob Heymann Butcher Shop, 345 Sixth Avenue” showing the outside of Jacob’s store covered with signs and prices. In it’s way this picture is a little like the food at a cafeteria, as much a recollection of a satisfying experience as one itself: a low calorie reminder of Abbott’s classic “Blossom Restaurant,” with it’s underground neighbor Jimmy the Barber.

But don’t fret, the feast is just beginning, and we soon move over to two tasty French starters by the German-Jewish emigre Fred Stein, especially a silver gelatin print of a silvery basket of fish from Brittany, 1935. Appetite whetted, nearby is a bracing color bon-bon by Harry Callahan from 1951 . Ten red apples on a red store window shelf, surrounded by a window frame painted cyan blue – pure unadulterated color.

There are other more elaborate images to follow, but really we can’t have them all. So lets jump past the chicken-based Man Ray and the sprightly still life by Douglas Mellor to an even more surprising image – a sensual, egg-centric image by Ansel Adams. “Still Life, San Francisco” from the early 1930’s has a suitably diverse set of kitchen supplies surrounding two shelled hard-boiled eggs. The delicious part (possibly not visible in the digital image shown here) is how the wires of the egg slicer are softly pressing into the egg, just enough not to slice.

Still Life, San Francisco, CA by Ansel Adams. Source: robertmann.com
Ansel Adams, "Still Life, San Francisco, CA" c. 1932

OK, now back to eating. The best of the (relatively) new is by Jeff Brouws, who on an apparent vacation from photographing big neon signs, photographed instead a section of a big American restaurant sign in Port Angeles, Washington. Salad, (with what looks like ‘ranch’ dressing), salmon steak – teriyaki sauce on the side, baked potato with butter – sour cream on the side, and just a sliver of orange. “The Promise of an Obscure Hunger.”

Now, on to dessert. Hmm, the staff at the Robert Mann Gallery seems to have had our health in mind more than do most cafeterias, and there is a distinct shortage of sweets. Well fruit is fine, but “Figs and Morning Glories after G.G.” by Paulette Tavormina is really just a little too rich to eat. I think I will end with just a single apple by Joseph Sudek, 1952. Perfect.


Food for Thought: A Group Exhibition


Robert Mann Gallery
210 Eleventh Ave. 10th Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 989 76000
robertmann.com

Thursday, March 31 to
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11 to 6
Share

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery