“Let them eat cake,” Marie-Thérese, wife of Louis XIV, supposedly once said when she was informed that French peasants were without bread. Initially referenced in Rousseau's Confessions, the cruel suggestion that starving people who couldn't afford bread might stay alive supping on rich desserts and pastries provokes disgust, even now. The year-long EATLACMA exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has borrowed the phrase for the title of its culminating spectacle set to go off on Sunday, November 7th. Not to sneer at “them,” but to imply that visitors and participants might find intellectual sustenance in an epic investigation of food, culture, politics, and art stretching across the entire museum and its surrounding grounds.
“See chewing carolers, a tomato fight, and a year's worth of plates assembled into a mandala that disappears into the crowd!” promises the Let Them Eat LACMA site, sounding a bit like a carnival barker. “Join us for a watermelon eating contest, hear about the mystery of the knife, fork and spoon, watch Salome seduce her lover through the language of food, sample the food served to prisoners in California jails, and finally, EAT THE MUSEUM itself!”
For real. We're into art and stuff, but we can't help but get all Homer Simpson just thinking about “Old Fashioned,” the edible doughnut installation by Jennifer Rubell, in which a wall of cake doughnuts changes in appearance as attendees stop by for breakfast. We think the wall is going to head in a minimalist direction once we pay a visit. Hang some cake up there and we'll eat that too.
Let Them Eat LACMA: November 7, 2010; 11am – 8pm. $12.