Art Hangover: The First Drink - It's a Good Thing.
It all started yesterday morning on my way to the Centerstage Welcoming activities. Halfway up the double escalators I took a whiff of what I thought was cake. My sweet tooth thought, "Hmm, maybe there is something to this Vegas experience". To my bewilderment, it wasn't cake exactly but the beginnings of an installation/performance by local artist Wendy Kveck. On one side of the El Dorado foyer stood a red-skirted table surrounded on three sides by a food-incrusted red wall. Most of the "food" was identifiable - cheetos, icing, marshmallows, those delicious sugar cookies with the red jelly in the middle, meat, etc. The table displayed three iced sculptures; one of which was vibrating and a meat cake sculpture was set on the corner. The vibrating sculpture drew the most attention as conference attendees filed through to register, network and mingle in the El Dorado Ballroom.
After a short but sweet introduction by AFTA's President and CEO Bob Lynch, the Gastro-performance, "How Much Do You Really Need", began. Four maidens - Cheeto Maiden, Lettuce Maiden, Marshmallow Maiden and my favorite, Meat Maiden - all sat at the table and were being served a three-course meal by two servers. The artist is nearby periodically whispering instructions. The maidens, one of whom owns a well-known local restaurant, show prim and proper table etiquette (except for the food masks they wore). The Food Eaters each took a bite, chewed a bit; just enough to get the taste, then spit the contents of their mouths into a communal bowl. Some of the gathering onlookers gasped, others laughed, someone sounded like she was about to loose her cookies. While most of the Maidens discreetly used the bowl, Cheeto Maiden made sure you saw what was coming out her mouth. This ritual went on for about 15 minutes with similar performances throughout the day. This performance obviously made people feel uncomfortable. A few grimaced and quickly walked away; one person quietly questioned its artistic merit. This it set the tone of the conference for me.
Let me check out "Pushing the Boundaries of Public Art"