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Weekly Watchlist: Unwrapping a History of Consumption

Minerva Cuevas dips into the commercial past of chocolate

Conceptual and socially-engaged artist Minerva Cuevas creates sculptural installations and paintings in response to politically charged events such as the tension between world starvation and capitalistic excess.

For her 2015 installation, Feast and Famine, Cuevas investigated the use of cacao as a primitive form of currency in pre-Hispanic Mexico.

“The exhibition was very much a reference to considering the whole capitalist system as a cannibalist process,” said Cuevas in our “Mexico City” episode. “That puts together two of the characteristics of capitalism: the exploitation of all the resources in the planet—so it’s all this feast; but, at the end, we are reaching the point of societies that are dying of starvation.”

Deepen your connection to Art21

Explore: Food

Song Dong installs Eating the City (2019) at Pace Gallery, London, 2019. Production still from the Art in the Twenty-First Century episode, “Beijing.” © Art21, Inc. 2020.

Employed as material or probed as narrative, food captures the cultural and political histories of civilizations past and present, lending insight to behaviors around commerce and consumption.

In our Food collection, feast on the sweet skyscrapers in Song Dong‘s cityscapes, indulge in the history of sugar through Kara Walker‘s monumental sphinx, and unwrap Iraqi culture with Michael Rakowitz‘s reliefs and sculptures.

Explore Food.

Upcoming workshop for educators

We are proud to offer professional development opportunities to engage teachers with the work of contemporary artists. Please join us this month for two programs:

What is Contemporary Art? / History
Saturday, October 16
1:00 p.m. ET
Presented in collaboration with SFMOMA

The Nose Knows
Tuesday, October 26
6:00 p.m. ET

All programs are free and will take place via Zoom.

Visit our education calendar for a list of upcoming workshops for educators.

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If you’ve felt inspired by our films, please consider donating today. Your gift will ensure the stories, art, and ideas of some of the most innovative artists of our time continue to reach and inspire viewers worldwide. Thank you for making a difference.