A Sensory Feast: Art, Food and Asian American Identity


What: A Sensory Feast, curated by Ellen Oh, Sita Bhaumik and Kearny Street Workshop
When: Opening reception – Friday, February 4, 2011
Exhibition dates: February 4—24, 2011
Gallery hours: Tuesday—Friday 12:00—7:00 pm, Saturday 12:00—5:00 pm

SOMArts Cultural Center and Kearny Street Workshop are pleased to present A Sensory Feast, an immersive exhibition exploring the multisensory nature of food art and Asian American identity, February 4 through 24, 2011.  This exhibition, a 2010/11 Commons Curatorial Residency recipient, is co-curated by Sita Bhaumik and Ellen Oh, Executive Director of Kearny Street Workshop (KSW), and features ten emerging Asian American artists, including Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Brandon Bigelow, Jean Chen, Kira Greene, Yosh Han, Amy M. Ho, Arthur Huang, Annie S. Koh, and National Bitter Melon Council (Jeremy Liu and Hiroko Kikuchi). Viewers will be enticed to use their five senses to interact with artworks encompassing olfactory installations, video art, painting, photography, taste, and participatory tactile soft sculpture.

The work in this show tackles multifarious ideas and experiences of food; an inextricable part of every Asian culture.  Food encompasses many layers of meanings, traditions and interpretations and the artists selected for this show investigate the nature of food through not only visual dimensions, but through sight, smell, touch and taste.

Public programming for this exhibition involves three lively and exciting events, the first being the opening reception on Friday, February 4, 6:00-9:00 pm with free admission, where viewers can have their photo taken in a pop-up photo booth while modeling wearable food sculptures (dress up as a human durian, cheese, & more), grab and apply temporary tattoos of your favorite foods and vegetables, try on new perfumes related to your favorite food scents, all while snacking on tasty tacos by Senor Sisig, Filipino food cart especial.  Come on by and knock back some suds or sip on a glass of wine at the SOMArts cash bar.

The second programming element is titled: Bitter is Better?: A Presentation of the National Bitter Melon Council Wednesday, February 16, 7:00-9:00 pm. Join The National Bitter Melon Council (NBMC) for a public celebration of the health, social, culinary, and creative possibilities of this under-appreciated vegetable and emotional state of being. With recent projects A Salt Apology at YBCA, Promiscuous Production – Breeding is BitterSweet at LACMA, and the newly published Better Living through Bitter Melon – A Manual, the NBMC promotes the literal and metaphoric acceptance of Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) across cultures and cuisines, and believes that Bitter Melon creates an alternative basis for community – that of bitterness!

Lastly, engage the artists directly and grill them about their ganache at the, A Sensory Feast Artist Talk and Closing Reception Thursday, February 24, 7:00-9:00 pm. Join KSW and A Sensory Feast artists for a lively discussion about food and art. Learn about the artists’ practices and what food inspires them, with reception to follow.

Lastly, SOMArts will present as a solo project in the video annex in relation to A Sensory Feast, featuring is a single channel video triptych by Bill Basquin, local film maker and photographer working with depictions of systems of agriculture and farming in America today.

Image Credit: Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, MCDXCII, chocolate wrappers, sugar, curry powder, and acquired objects, 2010.

Visit the KSW Press Page for more about the artists and their bios.

SOMArts exhibitions and events are FREE (unless otherwise advertised). Enter down long driveway. Street parking available and flat rate parking is accessible at Brannan & 8th St.  SOMArts is within two blocks of the Muni lines number 12, 19, 27 and 47.

A Sensory Feast is made possible by the Fleishhacker Foundation and the SOMArts Cultural Center Commons Curatorial Residency with support from the Community Arts & Education program of the San Francisco Arts Commission.

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