UAMA’s Art of Food Exhibition: Starting Conversations About Awareness and Disconnection


The University of Arizona Art Museum now features The Art of Food exhibition, the first exhibit after the museum closed due to COVID-19. The exhibition will run until March 20.

The Art of Food exhibition consists of 109 works from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family foundation. The collection consists of works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries by eminent artists such as Andy Warhol, Lorna Simpson, Alex Katz, Enrique Chagoya and many more.

About three years ago, exhibits curator Olivia Miller met Schnitzer, who invited her to Portland to examine her collection and organize an exhibit. Schnitzer’s collections feature a combination of paintings, prints and sculptures, all related to food.

“Food kept standing out for me, there was a lot of art that dealt with food, there are all kinds of conversations that can take place about food,” Miller said. .


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In 2015, Tucson became the first UNESCO City of Food in the United States due to its over 4,000-year-old cultural history where people interacted with food on different levels.

From nutritional issues to political issues involving who controls food, the future of food and culture, The Art of Food opens up different conversations about food.

“It’s a topic we can all relate to because we need it to live, but at the same time, it can also act as a catalyst to start different kinds of conversations,” Miller said.

The exhibit is divided into different sections that focus on the aesthetics of food, control, community and dissociation.

The community section focuses on how food brings people together. The section on dissociation deals with disconnecting humanity from food where some people grow their own food while others buy it. The aesthetic section is called Eye Candy and focuses on the metaphor that food has a relationship with lust, the connection between food and desire.

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Another layer of the art of food is Community food stories, where UAMA Community Engagement Curator Chelsea Farrar and UAMA Program Coordinator Willa Ahlschwede worked with different community members to write food-related stories.

Farrar, who is responsible for the community exhibition gallery, mentioned that many college professors plan to bring their students into the fall and spring semester because they have made the exhibition part of their curriculum. Some instructors have written labels for some of the artwork and they want to share them with their students.

Community Food Stories involve the Tucson community, where community members can choose an artwork from the Art of Food exhibit and write a label for it.

Ahlschwede helped create a digital mobile guide that visitors can access on any device, with no download required. QR codes are available in the gallery for people to have access to more information about members of the community and to watch videos of their works.

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“It gives you a lot of different ways of thinking about food, I think there is something for everyone. A lot of different ways to connect with the history of food,” Ahlschwede said.

Nelda Lillian Ruiz Calles, program manager for Southwest Folklife Alliance, was asked to write a label for one of the artwork. Ruiz Calles wrote his community story on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which destroyed communities where farm workers were exploited and received lower wages.

“I saw this magnificent bridge between community and great art, as if I was really intrigued. They were asking for answers from the community about this fine art, and it was about food, I said yes, ”said Ruiz Calles.

The University of Arizona Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm You can find more information about upcoming exhibitions and events on their website. website.

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