Photo Credit: Persephone - Nicole Chan

Making, distributing and consuming food is central to human history, from the development of agriculture, which marks one of the first stages of human civilization, and developing into a global trade in foodstuffs (spices, pasta) during the great ages of exploration. Even a queen’s invocation ‘Let them eat cake’ has been invested with the power to spark a revolution in which food inequality came to be seen as both symbol and catalyst. Today, the global reality of industrial food production and distribution has redefined the meaning of concepts such as natural, healthy and sustainable. Food’s symbolic power continues to shape us: from the provocative sexuality of eating a hamburger in fast food advertisements to the proliferation of ‘food porn’ (with its 16th century origins) across social media to the complex political and moral questions surrounding food security.  Put simply, food is the common denominator for all human life.

One way to better understand the deeper significance of food is through the diversity of its expressions in art, through which food’s varied and complex layers of meaning are represented.  In this spirit, students are encouraged to create their own artistic responses to this theme, which will be joined with those of special guests in an exhibition that will take place at the end of the semester.

Student Exhibition in the collection of Villa La Pietra

Diya Ajith
NYU Liberal Studies, 2019

Nicole Chan
NYU Shanghai, 2017

Amy Ortega
NYU Liberal Studies, 2019

The Living and The Dead
Zhengfei Wang
Tisch School of the Arts, 2017

Wake Up
Dora Wu
NYU Liberal Studies, 2019

Exhibition November 23 - December 4, 2015

Open Collection Opportunities

Students are invited to select and to creatively respond to an object related to the project theme in the Villa La Pietra collection. ‘Open Collection’ opportunities will allow students to informally spend time in the collection, to familiarize themselves with the objects, and to select one to respond to. Student ‘creative responses’ can be in written form, photography, videography, or any other artistic medium.

October 13, 1:00-3:00 pm
October 14, 11:00-4:00 pm
October 15, 1:00 - 6:00 pm
October 16, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
November 2, 11:00-4:00 pm
November 3, 1:00-3:00 pm
November 4, 11:00-4:00 pm
November 5, 1:00 - 6:00 pm
November 6, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Deadline for the submission of student projects
November 16

Exhibition Opening and Keynote Address
November 23 from 6-7:30pm
Art Historian Silvia Malaguzzi, an expert on food symbolism in art, will give a keynote address, responding to the exhibition, the scholarly interpretations, and placing the work in an art historical context.

November 23 - December 4
The exhibition/installation will take place in the collection of Villa La Pietra featuring the student work and the various interpretations by special guests and students.