Located in Pasadena, Norton Simon Museum is one of those hidden gems many don’t know about. I didn’t until a few years ago and though I live quite a distance away, I do try to visit when I can. The museum recently held a special preview for a new exhibit titled All Consuming: Art and the Essence of Food which will be available to view until August 14, 2023. The permanent collections here are fascinating too so I hope you do visit the premises anyway.
As for the exhibit itself, it is in the lower section of the museum and about 60 paintings, photos, and works of art are organized strategically across three rooms, each is a theme related to food—Hunger, Excess and Sustenance. The works are from the 1500s-1900s and looks at how artists depicted food culture in Europe.
We see food and drink in European art and some of the most famed pieces that catch our eye are ones that show tables laden with fruits and vegetables and meats, but this exhibit also shows works that depict the lack of food at times. Some of the pieces on display were created when the artists themselves were experiencing hunger.
The very last room offers some interaction to visitors with a reading area filled with cookbooks and other culinary publications. There is also a display wall where you can leave behind a recipe or other food and drink related artwork. Many pieces had a code next to them to scan for more information which is helpful.
Works by Mexican, French, Dutch, English, Flemish, Spanish, and American artists are on display. The exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator Maggie Bell. A series of in-person and web-based programs and features including a few different tours and talks will be offered as part of the exhibition. On display until August 14!
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