“Ravenous” at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art: Feast on Food Art

Five Pears, by Marvin Cone, 1933, oil on composition board, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, museum purchase, Dorothy Houts Fund with gift of Winnifred Cone and the Marvin Cone Trust, 86.1.27.

Ravenous, a new show at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, has gathered a buffet of food-themed artworks that show there’s more to edibles than meets the eye. Food is nourishment, a sensual pleasure, and a cultural lightning rod. Curator Julia Jessen has gathered works from the museum’s permanent collection to show how these layers of meaning manifest in visual depictions.

Polish Cookie Bakers, by Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret, 1989, gelatin silver print,A new show at the Cedaqr Rapi Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, promised gift of the artist, L2004.094.

“Through a wide variety of representations, multiple meanings are considered, and the importance of food in art becomes clear,” Jessen says.

“Food, while necessary for human survival, has long been associated with attributes beyond sustenance,” adds Executive Director Sean Ulmer. “Food, especially in art, has been symbolic of other characteristics such as purity, gluttony, avarice, wealth, and abundance. Julia’s careful selection from the appropriate works in our collection highlights many of these associations as well as explaining the impact of a lack of food as seen in some works of art. Ravenous is a revealing and engaging look at an important genre in the history of art.”

Ravenous runs through May 5. Other current exhibitions include Power and Impact, A Survey of 21st Century Black Visual Arts in Iowa through March 31, ROY G. BIV: A Rainbow of Art through October 27, and Grant Wood: From Farm Boy to American Icon, ongoing.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 3rd Ave. SE, is open Tuesday–Sunday, $10 admission, with free admission Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m.