But is it Art?


by Kerri Conan

Its name is herb. Tarragon to be exact. And when I saw this announcement of his (or is it her?) second appearance as an object of art, I thought “ugh.”  

Talk about fetishizing. How about just eating the stuff? As raising, cooking, eating—and talking about—food becomes more popular, are we actually making it too precious and less approachable?

Don’t get me wrong: Ms Roalf’s efforts as an urban herb gardener and her success over-wintering both tarragon and sage successfully in a window box are admirable. And it’s tough to argue with the mission of the Ecoaesthetic exhibit where her plants, and others, will be on display to heighten awareness of environmental issues. 

But blurring the line between raising food and art doesn’t help anyone grow and cook with tarragon and puts even more distance between people and what they eat. You don’t need to be Picasso to grow an herb garden, for crying out loud. (Photo by Peggy Roalf)


Posted in Farming, Food Politics, Uncategorized


  1. thatmags said...

    Mountain, meet molehill. Herbs may not require Picasso, but this is just crabby. Garlic Festival, anyone?

  2. operagirlcooks said...

    Despite Duchamp’s dastardly efforts to re-purpose the urinal as art, to the best of my knowledge, men still seem know what to do with ’em. I think we’re all gonna be okay ;-)http://operagirlcooks.com

  3. gabrielaskitchen said...

    There is the misconception that artists intend their work to be inaccessible or to objectify thier subject, when in fact many artists genuinely seek and require audience participation to endow meaning (Felix Gonzales Torres, Rirkrit Tiravanija, etc). I don’t interpret this installation as a fetishization of food, but rather a participatory event that might inspire others to grow their own herbs and windowsill gardens. Look into Relational Art (Relational Aestheics) and you’ll see that many artists have created social environments where we can collaborate and participate in social and domestic activities inorder to better understand them. Nicolas Bourriaud writes, "the role of artworks is no longer to form imaginary and utopian realities, but to actually be ways of living and models of action within the existing real, whatever scale chosen by the artist."

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