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Also, just to be clear (so we know what we're arguing about), I'm not disputing that gastronomy can be an art form. I think that's a really complicated, and not very rewarding, topic.

 

I'm just saying, in response to something someone said, that plating isn't art. It simply doesn't fill that function. (I could imagine its being done self-consciously as art -- but then the main point of the dish wouldn't be to eat it.) I felt constrained to make that point only because I think art is so important that it shouldn't be trivialized by equating it to merely making things look nice. (And I'd hate for Teddy to get the idea that's what art is -- then it really would be boring.) But I doubt it's worth discussing.

 

To be clear about something else, I fear that Teddy might be in for a boring and second-rate life if he denies himself the deep and abiding pleasures of art. But that's another thing.

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Of course it does. But that's craft, not art. I mean, come on. An "eye for composition" does not equate to art. Is arranging various tkochkies so they look nice on your coffee table art? (But let's not go there.)

 

Oh I don't know ...

 

Is throwing paint on a piece of plasterboard in a seemingly random fashion, art?

Is heaping a pile of pennies in a corner, art?

Are a bunch of Campbell soup labels painted on canvas, art?

Are a couple of pipes attached to a ceiling and painted blue, art? Click for example.

 

It might not be art to you, but it is to someone somewhere out there.

 

so much for avoiding the debate on aesthetics. :rolleyes: we might as well throw in Duchamp's urinal, and then we can apply for credit from the philosophy department.

duchamp-urinal.jpg

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I'll bet there already is one. (There certainly is one on eG.)

 

How many years ago did Fat Guy and Cabrales debate whether presentation influenced appreciation. Fat Guy's position was that the food tasted the same whether you were blindfolded or not. I sympathized with the view that this was psychologically simplistic.

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Also, just to be clear (so we know what we're arguing about), I'm not disputing that gastronomy can be an art form. I think that's a really complicated, and not very rewarding, topic.

 

I'm just saying, in response to something someone said, that plating isn't art. It simply doesn't fill that function. (I could imagine its being done self-consciously as art -- but then the main point of the dish wouldn't be to eat it.) I felt constrained to make that point only because I think art is so important that it shouldn't be trivialized by equating it to merely making things look nice. (And I'd hate for Teddy to get the idea that's what art is -- then it really would be boring.) But I doubt it's worth discussing.

 

To be clear about something else, I fear that Teddy might be in for a boring and second-rate life if he denies himself the deep and abiding pleasures of art. But that's another thing.

 

Without going to far into the "unrewarding" debate, but I think that there are certain, rare, cases where presentation is an element of a dish that aspires to be something more than craft. For example, Adria's fake and real caviar compositions or the various tidal pool/forest floor dishes out there. I think in those, and maybe a few other cases, a big part of the "point" that the chef is trying to make with the dish is tied up in, but not exclusively contained in, the presentation.

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I'll bet there already is one. (There certainly is one on eG.)

 

How many years ago did Fat Guy and Cabrales debate whether presentation influenced appreciation. Fat Guy's position was that the food tasted the same whether you were blindfolded or not. I sympathized with the view that this was psychologically simplistic.

 

I would think a more appropriate view would be that he was wrong. (although we shouldn't discount the possibility that all food tastes the same to FG)

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Without going to far into the "unrewarding" debate, but I think that there are certain, rare, cases where presentation is an element of a dish that aspires to be something more than craft. For example, Adria's fake and real caviar compositions or the various tidal pool/forest floor dishes out there. I think in those, and maybe a few other cases, a big part of the "point" that the chef is trying to make with the dish is tied up in, but not exclusively contained in, the presentation.

 

Sure, but that goes beyond plating. That goes to the very conception of the dish. And of course this is precisely the kind of self-conscious reflexive food conceptualization that makes it possible to think that food conceivably could function as art.

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Without going to far into the "unrewarding" debate, but I think that there are certain, rare, cases where presentation is an element of a dish that aspires to be something more than craft. For example, Adria's fake and real caviar compositions or the various tidal pool/forest floor dishes out there. I think in those, and maybe a few other cases, a big part of the "point" that the chef is trying to make with the dish is tied up in, but not exclusively contained in, the presentation.

 

I was going to respond to Sneak that the number of cases where cuisine interacts with culture and/or space in a way that would be identifiable as modern art is extremely small, but not zero.

 

p.s. without knowing more about that bowl and the fish that prasantrin linked to, I would have to think they're the work of an artisan, not an artist.

 

 

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I'll bet there already is one. (There certainly is one on eG.)

 

How many years ago did Fat Guy and Cabrales debate whether presentation influenced appreciation. Fat Guy's position was that the food tasted the same whether you were blindfolded or not. I sympathized with the view that this was psychologically simplistic.

 

I would think a more appropriate view would be that he was wrong. (although we shouldn't discount the possibility that all food tastes the same to FG)

 

Just for the record, I was thinking of a long-running (with long interruptions) thread about whether food is art.

 

(Of course, as Ron suggested above, like most such discussions on non-specialist boards, it always got bogged down by the fact that most of the participants had no familiarity with the multiple millenia's worth of literature dealing with the question of what constitutes art.)

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Without going to far into the "unrewarding" debate, but I think that there are certain, rare, cases where presentation is an element of a dish that aspires to be something more than craft. For example, Adria's fake and real caviar compositions or the various tidal pool/forest floor dishes out there. I think in those, and maybe a few other cases, a big part of the "point" that the chef is trying to make with the dish is tied up in, but not exclusively contained in, the presentation.

 

Sure, but that goes beyond plating. That goes to the very conception of the dish. And of course this is precisely the kind of self-conscious reflexive food conceptualization that makes it possible to think that food conceivably could function as art.

 

Yes, I think that's exactly right. I'm not suggesting that there's artistic value in the mere arrangement of food on the plate without either the other sensory elements of the dish and some broader context.

 

Also, I do think that there's probably a rewarding, interesting debate to be had about when food can be, or can be close to, art. However, most of these debates get bogged down by people who think that art/not art is a normative claim. But saying that a 15th century Samurai sword is not art is not to belittle the skill of the craftsman who made it. Similarly, its rare in these debates that someone says that a certain dish is "bad art", suggesting that the claim that "food can be art" isn't categorical but normative.

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However, most of these debates get bogged down by people who think that art/not art is a normative claim. But saying that a 15th century Samurai sword is not art is not to belittle the skill of the craftsman who made it. Similarly, its rare in these debates that someone says that a certain dish is "bad art", suggesting that the claim that "food can be art" isn't categorical but normative.

 

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for making that point, and making it so well.

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(Of course, as Ron suggested above, like most such discussions on non-specialist boards, it always got bogged down by the fact that most of the participants had no familiarity with the multiple millenia's worth of literature dealing with the question of what constitutes art.)

 

Doesn't stop 'em.

 

The debate is partly stymied by the (often unconscious) supposition that if something can't be precisely defined, then we don't really know what it is. This isn't true, of course. "Art" is one of many cases where 90% of the time we know whether object X is an art work or not, but all the discussion focuses on the cases which are hard-to-decide. In fact, those cases are undecidable; there's simply a pragmatic question of where we happen to choose to draw the line.

 

In an era when the Guggenheim can mount an exhibition of motor-cycles, it's quite clear that many would count at least some examples of what chefs do as "art." But that's a sociological observation rather than an attempt to determine where the boundary line is or should be.

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