Tonight in DUMBO, a quartet of creatives (including Michael J. Cirino of a razor, a shiny knife, the pop-up dinner rapscallions known for serving rogue luncheons on the L train and such) will present some food-focused work and performances. The event, put on by Kind Aesthetic, aims to “showcase artists, thinkers and makers who use food as their medium” — much like an art exhibit that, coincidentally, is currently on view nearby at Smack Mellon gallery.
Recently, artist Elaine Tin Nyo sat cross-legged and barefoot in the Plymouth Street gallery. “Here’s my pancetta humidor…I cure meat in it,” she said as she pointed at a picture of a raw pig carcass hanging in the middle of her 15th-floor apartment in Harlem.
Next to her flashed “Sour Cherries,” a digital book that chronicles her annual pie-baking project. For the past decade, she’s been baking a sour-cherry pie every day in July and distributing them for friends and family to enjoy in intimate settings.
Elaine’s piece is part of “FOODshed,” a group show featuring artists who specialize in agricultural and environmental art, and who bring farming activism and other community issues into their work. Like Elaine, they use food to explore the issues of mortality and social responsibility. Inside of the gallery, there’s a chalk-doodled wooden shed, with miniature flowerpots and topsoil strewn inside. A diagram drawn on the gallery’s wall portrays the environmental consequences of the three E’s: eating, economy, and ecology.
Originally from Burma, Elaine grew up in the U.S. and spent her share of time drawing naked people for hours at a time at Carnegie Mellon University before she found her true mediums (photography and pottery) in the mid ’90s.
“I’m going to make something that starts out like a baby book, and turns into a cookbook,” said Tin Nyo with a slight trace of amusement while she described her “This Little Piggy” project. Over the next decade, she plans on “adopting” five pigs from different “ham centric” countries and documenting each of their lives from birth to the abattoir.
Elaine tends to crave pork while working with pigs for “This Little Piggy,” but she says vegetarians and vegans understand her artwork because it values the lives of animals prior to being sold at the grocery store.
“What’s important to me is maximizing an immediate experience rather than a remote experience, and food is very good that way,” she said.
Her final project will be morbid a morbid one. “I also want to write a will where I become a sausage.”
Get tickets for “Delve: Food + Art” (tonight from 7pm to 9pm at the Made in NY Media Center, 30 John Street, DUMBO) here; $10.
Visit “FOODshed” at Smack Mellon, 92 Plymouth St., DUMBO, Wednesday – Sunday, noon to 6pm, through July 27.