Photo Illustration: The Cut; Photo: Getty Images
art is everywhere. It’s the way Chris Pine wears a kaftan, the movement of Katy Perry’s wrist when she throws slices of pizza into a Las Vegas nightclub. Art is movement and expression, creativity and inspiration. It’s poetry, music, movies and, yes, even a pickle. Ladies and gentlemen, you:
That is pickle, an installation recently shown at the Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand. Artist Matthew Griffin created the piece by peeling a single pickle from a McDonald’s cheeseburger and throwing it at the gallery ceiling. Griffin’s self-proclaimed “sculpture” was on display throughout July, meaning the pickle stuck to the ceiling for an entire month, using only scraps of ketchup and nondescript burger juices as glue. Great. I love the artificial cucumber.
As is usual with any work of art in a gallery, pickle‘s plaque listed the materials used to create the piece. While only the pickle is on display, the plaque included all of the components of a McDonald’s cheeseburger (bun, beef patty, cheese, ketchup, etc.) as well as the ingredients used to make each component (wheat flour, canola oil, solids). Active ingredients, emulsifiers, the ominous “cheese taste”). This should be common for all artworks. The credits of each film should list all the food provided by artisan workshops. Each song should record the number of cigarettes smoked while writing each track. What goes into the making of a work of art, even if it is not visible in the final product, is also part of the art. Schrodinger’s Burger.
Now before I talk about how much pickle was sold for – yeah obviously it was for sale – you gotta promise me you’ll be cool. I will hear no grumbling or laughter at the monetary value of the artificial pickle. Do we have an agreement? OK, pickle was priced at NZD10,000 (US$6,275). Hey, you promised me you’d be cool! Also, anyone who bought the installation would have to pay an additional NZ$4.44 for a McDonald’s cheeseburger, as per That Guardian, “The institution or collector who owns it will be given instructions on how to recreate the art in their own space.” So you would essentially pay NZ$10,004.44 to remove a pickle from a McDonald’s burger and slam them onto the ceiling of your choice. Dinner and show! It is unclear whether anyone actually bought the artwork.
pickle has been described by critics as a “provocative gesture,” and I agree, as cucumbers are provocative by nature. It’s reminiscent of other food art, like the now infamous banana taped to a wall, or the porn movie cake farts. (Here is a musical dissertation on cake farts, if you’re unfamiliar.) What I love most about the art pickle is that it opens the door for other everyday things to be considered art. The heap of dust and dog fur under my TV table isn’t dirt; it is a comment on the cultural understanding of cleanliness. Leaving my car empty for too long is not irresponsible; it’s performance art, and pumping gas is camp. Kiwis call McDonald’s “Macca,” which, tell me, is art. You’ve read over 500 words on a pickle stuck to the ceiling, making you a supporter of the arts.
Since art breeds art, I wrote a poem in honor of the art cucumber. The best way to enjoy it is to throw some cucumbers at the wall. Good Appetite.
This is just to say
I have eaten
the artificial cucumber
that was on
the ceiling of the art gallery
And which one
You probably have
10,000 New Zealand dollars
It was delicious
It was a month old cucumber.
It tasted so, so bad.