The Chicago Files


Art Institute

A few weeks ago I went to the incredible Art Institute of Chicago.  It’s a phenomenal piece of art in and of itself, let alone housing a massive collection of priceless art.  The exhibit I specifically went to see is entitled, “Art and Appetite:  American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine”.  The exhibit consists of paintings, some sculptures, and other ‘bits and bobs’ (is that a British term?) from the 18th century, through the 20th century.  In a nutshell (pun intended) it’s a wonderful insight into the culture of various time periods as seen through art and food.

I use to think of any art that involved food in terms of a painting of a bowl of fruit.  That’s it.  That’s what I thought.  Just a bunch of grapes wrapped around a couple of oranges and an apple thrown in for good measure.  Wait, I think I know where that comes from.  Grade 8 art class.  Art has never been my forte, yet I am in complete and utter awe of those who possess such talents.  Now that I’ve done a quick 2-second analysis on my questionable summation of the art world and food, I must confess the exhibit was spectacular.  What intrigued me most was the representation of the culture at the time the art was completed.  For example, in antebellum America, renderings of food showcased affluence and increasing wealth.

Andy Warhol used art and food to comment about the ways in which mass consumption greatly affected the American experience of food.  Warhol seemed to abhor the mass-production of food in America, and perceived it would lead to gluttony; further, he felt it represented the lack of implications on humans by the manufacturers.  So, if you’ve ever wondered why Mr. Warhol painted tins of Campbell’s Soup, wonder no more.  Or, at least, please do not wonder aloud as you may spill your soup!

Andy Warhol Soup Can

This is one of Andy Warhol’s paintings of a Campbell’s Soup tin.  I do not know the particular year this was painted.  I saw it up close, and, well, let’s just say it is what it is:  a painting of a can of soup.  Mind you, I rather like Campbell’s soup, so this was just fine by me.

Ah, onto the next painting, shall we?  I must say that the crowning glory for me was to see the original Norman Rockwell painting entitled, “Freedom from Want”, or “Thanksgiving”, which was painted in 1943.  It is truly an iconic piece, and I think many of us have come to see it as a symbol of what we envision as the stereotypical, ‘perfect’ Thanksgiving meal.  I stood in front of the original painting.  I smiled, and pictured Norman Rockwell in front of a blank canvas, ideas rolling around his mind as to what and how to paint this memorable meal in oil (yes, pun intended, but it was done in oil paints!).

And then, my nostalgic smile turned itself to the ‘annoyed’ dial.  Too many to count, I was besieged by a group of school children who ran up to the painting (well, to the wire holding us back from actually getting too close to this priceless artwork).  I did not get the feeling the children realized the importance or significance of this work of art.  There was a teacher standing close by, but he didn’t appear to be too interested in keeping things in check, as it were.  I was pleased that these kids were visiting this amazing exhibit; however, I felt rather upset that it seemed to be a day off school rather than an opportunity for some first-hand learning about major works of art.  I took another look at the turkey, and walked away.

Norman Rockwell Museum Stockbridge Massachusetts USA

I must also tell you that it is strictly forbidden to take any photographs inside the Art Institute of Chicago.  And, as a law-abiding Canadian, I did not breach this rule.  However, if you take a look at this picture, which is a picture I found of people looking at the painting why, someone had to take it.  Not I, said the Canadian!

Just as a side-note, the nice folks at the Art Institute of Chicago have enforceable rules about eating in the exhibit areas.  Okay, I get it, but if you are going to see this exhibit, either eat before you enter, or better yet, take a picture of your lunch along for the ride so you don’t get too hungry.  You will be in good company with photos of food! 🙂


20 thoughts on “Art and Food: Does anyone have a tic tac? I’m starving!!

  1. T. D. Davis says:

    Thanks for the walk through!


  2. seaangel4444 says:

    And thank you for stopping by! Muchly appreciated! Cher 🙂


  3. Good one. I was in the Rockwell museum on my honeymoon with my late husband. I told him to pick out his favorite one as a present from me to him. He spent over an hour looking. He picked the only one I had never seen before, but he picked one that I never would have picked as a Rockwell. My husband passed in1995 and it still hangs in my house today. I smile at my memories. You have a great blog. Hugs, Barbara


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      My dear, thank you for sharing that extremely moving story. I grinned from ear to ear with the knowledge that this painting was so special to your husband, bless him. Thank you for your kind words. I am so grateful to have you read my posts. Hugs, Cher xo


      1. I am grateful that you shared and brought the memory back to my conscious mind. Hugs, Barbara


      2. seaangel4444 says:

        Awh, bless you for that my dear! How that warms my heart. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        cher xo


  4. sunshinebright says:

    Many years ago, I visited the Norman Rockwell museum in New England. I’m trying to remember if it was Stockton Massachusetts. It was in a quaint house that used to be his (?) home. All the walls were covered with his paintings, and the docent told us they have a schedule whereby they change those with others that they keep in storage. It was a wonderful experience. I always admired his work, and to be there in front of those paintings; well I was spellbound. I was in awe. Most of those that were on exhibit were the paintings he did for the covers of Saturday Evening Post. Didn’t mean to go on so, but you brought it all back to me! 🙂


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Well isn’t that cool! I bet it was an amazing experience! What a feeling that must have been! I think I read somewhere he painted over 4,000 pictures, so it is understandable why the docent mentioned a schedule of ‘change-ups’, as it were. No, heavens, you didn’t go on; you were delightfully telling your experiences! I love it! Thank YOU!!!! Cher xo


  5. Kavi says:

    I love the Art Institute! Admittedly, both times I’ve attended were for Art After Dark, which features cocktails and a DJ in the main hall. But the rules are still in effect: no eating or drinking near the art, haha!


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Isn’t it great? Ah, so you know exactly what I mean! *LOL*


  6. Don Ostertag says:

    My favorite building in Chicago. I could take a two week vacation, go to Chicago, and spend the whole time in that building. I once went there when they had a Monet exhibition, mostly of his Haystacks. Amazing!


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Isn’t his work incredible! I love that building, too! It’s sublime!!


  7. poetsmith says:

    Interesting and informative post! Enjoyed your “tour”. 🙂


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Awh, bless! Thank you so much! I”ll be returning to your page very soon, and please come back to The Chicago Files anytime! Cher xo


      1. poetsmith says:

        Will do. Thank you.


      2. seaangel4444 says:

        Thank you!!! Cher xo


  8. Sounds like you had a great day out – if I ever make it to Chicago, I’ll definitely call in at the museum. Btw, “bits and bobs” is definitely a British phrase!


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      I did Veronica, thank you! Oh yes, it is a spectacular place. *LOL* *grin* You will see lots and lots of “bits of bobs” at the Art Institute! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, and please do so anytime! I’ll be returning to your wonderful blog very soon! Cher xo


  9. Amy says:

    What an experience, Cher! Thank you for sharing! Great photo! I won’t know how to manage to take a shot there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *LOL* You would have to be very careful, as the Art Institute is always watching!! 😉 Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

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