Oreo Cameos by Judith Klausner: Cookie Art with a Message
Judith Klausner's Oreo Cameos
Generally we're of the seen one Oreo cameo, seen 'em all camp. Not in the case of Judith G. Klausner's collection. The artist's series of relief portraits carved in Oreo cream reflect more than just wonder and goodness, they make a statement about the relationship between feminism and industrialism, then frame it in chocolate cookie.
Klausner's Oreo Cameos belong to a larger collection of food art called From Scratch, a graphic interrogation of what she calls our "nostalgia for the culinary past." Combining traditionally feminine handicrafts with processed foodstuffs she emphasizes the importance of choice: the choice to buy packaged food and Gap sweaters or cook your own food and make your own clothes. While remaining reverent of craft, she stresses that the availability of packaged food and the mechanization of mundane handicrafts have been a liberating force for women -- who would otherwise be cooking three squares and sewing clothes for the family -- freeing them to build, pursue and create outside the home, if they choose to.
Though something has indeed been lost by industrialization she says, "[I]t is important to take a step back and recognize the trade that has been made and that what we have gained is not to be undervalued."
From Scratch also includes Condiment Wallpaper, an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of Victorian-style wallpaper patterned in yellow mustard, ketchup, rose jam and barbecue sauce; Cereal Sampler, a critique of John Harvey Kellog's war on passion, embroidered onto Chex cereal; and Toast Embroidery, in which bread serves as a canvas for embroidered molds and a fried egg.
When Oreo Cameos are not being shown in galleries, they reportedly live in Klausner's refrigerator. Perhaps due to a large quantity of preservatives (another great contribution of industrialism), the pieces require little more than basic climate control though, which is available in most any exhibition space.
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