In the 21st century, all the cool kids want to own pop-up restaurants?
At least, this is what the New York Times claimed in a recent article. Eat, Talk, Tweet (The NYT is probably not a trustworthy arbiter of coolness, but we’ll let that slide for the moment.)
According to the Times, artisanal food production represents, for the 2010s, something equivalent to the avant-garde art scene of the 1970s and 80s. If this is true, and the cutting edge of culture now lies in the locavore chef’s kitchen rather than the artist’s atelier, are we witnessing a democratization of culture, or a blossoming of hedonism?
Here are some choice quotes from John Leland’s article: “Eric Demby, a founder of the food-friendly Brooklyn Flea and its all-food offshoot, Smorgasburg, compared the current food moment to New York’s fine-arts scene of the 1970s and ’80s, when “art had an underground cachet” and artists used new places and media to make their names.”
“‘The food vendors are like artists,” Mr. Demby said. “You’re eating, but also meeting the people who are making these things and creating the culture. The people themselves are quite cool: they often live in your neighborhood; they quit some job or want to quit some job. You’re not talking to a celebrity.'”
“Some readers may object that a well-made kimchi taco is not the equivalent of a Basquiat canvas, but others will remember that such high-blown rhetoric attended the 1980s’ art world as well.”
Remember “Meat Joy”?