Our love for food and art grows every single day as we find inspiration in everything we see, read or hear. Not so long ago we have encountered the amazing project of artist and photographer Julia Sherman, who started the blog Salad For President for which she collaborates with artists to create delicious salads with an artistic touch. Couple of years ago Julia also started her own salad garden on the roof of the MoMa in New York (yeah you heard it right!), which was so successful that she was offered a second space for her salad garden at the Getty Museum in LA, opened in October.
It goes without saying that this artistic and culinary project has really inspired many, including us. For Julia, preparing salads has been a way to express her artistic potential, connect with others and create exciting collaborations with many different artists around the world. We cannot wait to see this project grow even further and we are delighted to share our interview with her.
When did you start thinking about your project first, and how did it come about? Was there a particular moment that made you think: Ok, NOW is time to start?
The beauty of my passion for food, was that it started way before I ever knew it would have any bearing on my professional life. As a teenager, I didn't have many friends, so I watched a lot of food television, and I would run to the kitchen and make what I had seen on that particular show. It was distracting and satisfying, and it was something I knew how to share with others. I didn't decide to make food the focus of my "work," until I had devoted myself entirely to the art world, and found that to be an increasingly isolating pursuit. I decided to see what would happen if I took my love of cooking, hosting and gardening seriously. I think you just reach a point in life when you realize you will be most successful at the thing you do when nobody is looking.
Do you have a specific aim in mind for this project? Is there anything you want to achieve in particular with Salad For President or are you taking it day by day?
At the moment I am writing a cookbook, to be published by Abrams Books in Spring 2017. This was one of my earliest goals for the project, so it is really a dream come true. I would also love to work this into a video series at some point, but I am not quite there yet.
If you had to name one favourite dish, what would it be?
I love anything that involves a project to be done at the table whole artichokes, shucking oysters, lobster, crawfish boils, things that require a some elbow grease.
If you had to name one favourite artist, who would it be?
I just came back from Japan where I had some pretty transcendent experiences with James Turell works. His installations make you hyper aware of the way we see and make sense of light, sound and space. I learn something about myself every time I have a chance to experience his work. I also find everything about Laurie Anderson incredibly moving and important.
You mention in your biography that you are an artist/ Would you say your art has been in anyway inspired by the food you are cooking? Or has the food changed/impacted your art practice?
The practice has never changed; I have always used art as a way to connect to strangers, as a way to reach some level intimacy or insight about others. So, cooking has just proven to be the best way for me to do that right now.
There is something very therapeutical about the act of making salad: cleaning, chopping, mixing colours. As an artist yourself, do you find that you approach your practice in the same way/mood that you approach making salads?
No, I am far less self conscience in the kitchen than I am in the studio. I expect to start from scratch everyday when it comes to food, so I feel more freedom to experiment and take risks.
Is there any specific reason why you chose a salad?
Salad allows me to include all the artists that I want --those who are ambitious cooks but also those who add oil and vinegar to some lettuce and call it a day. I am also a purist when it comes to flavor and ingredients. I like to be able to identify the pieces, the distinct flavors, while also appreciating how the whole picture comes together. This is the beauty of salad -- it can only be as good as the sum of its parts.
Salad allows me to include all the artists that I want - those who are ambitious cooks but also those who add oil and vinegar to some lettuce and call it a day.
Best and worst museum food you have had?
Best: there is a private dining room at the very top of the Metropolitan Museum that has incredible views and a pretty good salad with roast chicken. The food at the Natural History Museum in New York is pretty awful.
Could you please tell us more about the garden on the rooftop of MOMA PS1? How was this experience?
That was a real adventure. The museum was not using the space on the roof, which is really a special location. So, they invited me to do a project there, so I planted tons of herbs and vegetables and edible flowers and spent the entire summer hosting artists, cooking and enjoying the view. It was a wonderful way to bring the project into the museum setting, and now, the second iteration of the S alad For President Salad Garden is on view at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I am really excited to get out there in November and start meeting with artists. T he garden is both familiar and strange—a place that allows for an ease of curiosity, discovery, and dialogue amongst the experienced gardener and the total novice alike. The garden mirrors the ideal engagement one should have at the museum.