“Let Them Eat LACMA” event explores food culture

Liana Hofer

The cultures of eating and art met at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Sunday, where visitors were treated to tasty exhibits about the different aspects of food.

As odd as it was entertaining, “Let Them Eat LACMA” was eight hours of performances, contests, and displays from 50 different artists stationed all over the museum’s campus.

It was a unique mix of involvement and information that explored the history, culture and pleasure of eating.  There was no shortage of things to do, whether it was tasting fudge, listening to an opera about our parasites or learning about the history of the fork.

Museum guests were invited to be a part of the interactive exhibits in a variety of ways, such as those who chose to participate in the “Fallen Fruit Drop,” in which people chose a fruit, dropped it from a great height, and watched as it splattered on the grassy lawn below.

One of the main attractions was a 60-foot wall covered in old-fashioned doughnuts that viewers were welcomed to, and more than happy to eat. Further on in the museum, visitors could don a protective suit, complete with a breathing mask and gloves, to closely examine mold on food inside a tent.

Although the regular art collections were still found throughout the museum, there was hardly a corner to be turned where there was not some eating exhibit set up. Even elevators were used as artistic settings, such as the live show “Decomposition,” set up to visually symbolize greed and gluttony.  Those who thought they were simply getting a ride to the first floor were in for a surprise when the elevator doors opened to reveal a sinister-looking being sitting on a throne surrounded by food.

People of all ages were able to enjoy the contests that took place, one of the most memorable being the watermelon-eating contest.  The flamboyant hostess, Miss Barbie-Q, had participants and observers alike laughing with her commentary on the variety of fruit-eating contestants.

Meanwhile, plenty of people got an eyeful with Adam Overton, who went as the walking exhibit “California Nature Boy.”  He was hard to miss, seeing as he wore nothing but fig leaves.

The great assortment of shows created an amalgam of amusement and knowledge for museum visitors which will not soon be forgotten.