Meat America is an eye-opening and artery-clogging tour of the American spirit, as told through meat. This photo by Dominic Episcopo, winner of a PDN Taste Food Photography Award, was snapped by me at the Photo Plus Expo, held at NYC’s Javits Center in October 2016.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work, America, skewers social complacencies and re-imagines cultural icons. On the occasion of the artist’s 2011 – 2012 retrospective at the Guggenhiem, which featured virtually every work he had ever made suspended from the oculus of the rotunda, Cattelan announced his retirements from art making.
Five years later, he returns from his self-imposed exile with a new, ongoing project at the Guggenheim Museum. For America (2016), Cattelan replaced the Toilet in one of the museum’s unisex restrooms with a fully functional replica cast in 18K Gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent.
Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art. Cattelan’s Golden Toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market, but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all — its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.
Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum, Level 4 Restroom in the Rotunda, NYC.
Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue (1931) prominently displays the three colors of the American flag. Painted at a time when American artists, musicians, and writers were interested in identifying a uniquely American style and subject matter for their work, Georgia O’Keeffe offered a dissenting opinion about what images could best symbolize America.
Rather than paying homage to the lush agricultural landscape as the Regionalist painters did, or uncovering urban problems like the American Scene painters, she used a weathered cow’s skull to represent the enduring spirit of America. Although she made it as a joke on the concept of the “Great American Painting,” the picture is a quintessential icon of the American West.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull: Red, White and Blue is part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Artist Will Ryman built a Log Cabin, painted it metallic Gold inside and out, bedazzled its interior walls with collages of gold painted car parts, railroad parts, cotton, computer parts, corn, coal, bullets, arrowheads, chains and shackles, and named the finished piece America. Today, March 30th, is the final day that you can see America on exhibit at the Paul Kasmin Gallery. Here are some photos of or what you are going to miss if you can’t make it over there by 6:00 PM.
Paul Kasmin Gallery is Located at 515 W. 27th Street, New York, NY 10001, Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10: 00 AM – 6:00 PM.