Three years ago, Natalie Zelt, then curatorial assistant for photography for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, noticed an increase of food-related images in the portfolios she was viewing. “A lot of photographers and visual artists were engaging in food issues in a visual realm,” Zelt tells us. “There’s been a lot of buzz about the slow-food movement…and it was interesting to see the different ways that it had begun to be explored visually. I realized that not only was this happening among visual artists, but it was becoming part of our culture, people documenting their food [via social media].”
Fast-forward to today and Zelt, now in graduate school, has curated “See Food: Contemporary Photography and the Ways We Eat,” an exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography. Local artist Emily Peacock contributes images from her Whiskey Tango series. “‘Whiskey tango’ are the military [alphabet] for ‘w’ and ‘t,’ which Peacock uses for ‘white trash.’ She’s starting to be more careful about the food she eats and she’s realized that the food she ate as a child was so plasticized and almost toylike,” Zelt says. “Her images reflect her looking back at the food she ate as a kid; she’s essentially creating these vibrant, toylike images.
Those contrast with the work seen in Mark Menjivar’s You Are What You Eat series. He traveled around the country making portraits of people by documenting the interiors of their refrigerators, basically posing the question ‘What happens when the body, the person, is replaced by the food that they eat?’”
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There’s an opening reception at 6 p.m. on November 22. Regular viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through January 12. 1441 West Alabama. For information, call 713-529-4755 or visit hcponline.org. Free.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 8. Continues through Jan. 12, 2013