Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, October 20

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« Highlights From The Beer Hoptacular Turkey Day at Home »

Event Thu Nov 14 2013

"Art and Appetite" Opens at the Art Institute


The Art Institute of Chicago (111 S Michigan Ave) has combined two of my favorite hobbies, eating and museum-going, in their newest exhibit, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine.

From parties and feasts to dining out to Thanksgiving, the food-centric paintings, sculptures and decorative arts make this exhibit accessible in a way you can almost, almost feel, smell, and touch. This isn't the typical one with the Monets or Rembrandts lining the walls, where you, or at least I, am often acutely aware of the historical distance separating the subject(s) of the painting from the viewer. As awe-inspiring as Rembrandt's work is, there can be a struggle at times to relate to his work, to care about the woman in that portrait, or to understand the scene of a bunch of men in puffy shirts loitering with muskets.

That's not to say people and history aren't part of Art and Appetite. Changing tastes in American culture and cuisine is at the forefront of the exhibit as the artworks stretch from the 18th through the 20th century. Gazing at the incredibly realistic painting by William Michael Harnett of a defeathered chicken hanging upside down by one scaly foot, you can't help but think of a plump, live chicken, or maybe the frozen one from the grocery store. The piece is titled For Sunday's Dinner so you intuitively know our eating habits have changed dramatically over the past one hundred years.

That's what makes this exhibit compelling: food and drink is a subject we all have some kind of relationship with, regardless of our personal tastes, politics, religion, and dietary restrictions. Looking at William J. McCloskey's Wrapped Oranges you can practically feel the weight of the orange in the in the palm of your hand and the whiff of citrus in the air. And when you spy that photograph-like painting of a dead chicken, you'll have some sort of reaction, regardless of your food preferences.

Art and Appetite runs now through January 27, 2014

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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