This unique exhibition featuring old and new art, showcases the magnificent food still-lifes of the Golden Age. It offers an alternative reading of these works as documents from an eventful history. What does the food we see tell us about the Netherlands’ colonial and trade relations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?
A Global Table brings seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish still lifes by artists such as Floris van Dijck, Balthasar van der Ast, Clara Peeters, Jan de Heem and Willem Kalf face to face with works by contemporary artists like Nelson Leirner, Patricia van Kaersenhout and Ellen Gallagher. The Old Master paintings are not the subject of traditional art-historical analysis but rather ‘read’ as historical documents. The exhibition invites viewers to ask three simple questions about the foods in the still lifes: What are they? Where did they come from and how much did it cost – in terms of money and human suffering – to get them here? In finding answers to these questions, the paintings can be seen as documents charting the growth of economic power and colonial expansion of the Republic and the Dutch contribution to the creation of the world economy.
The exhibition is curated by Curatorial Fellow Abigail Winograd.