Yours in Food.  Photographs by John Baldessari.

Yours in Food.

Photographs by John Baldessari.
Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2004. 144 pp., 55 color illustrations, 7½x9¾".

At the time of writing this review, the year-end Holiday season has not yet hit, and the appeal of tables chock-full of homemade cooking is ringing loudly in my head (and belly). I can see my mother in her kitchen now, preparing the turkey and mashed potatoes (I try not to dwell on the year she and Dad came back from a raw food retreat, armed with recipes that involved a great many nut pastes). Perhaps, when the season is past and we’ve all settled into writing 2005 on our checks, the idea of a book about eating will not sound all that appealing. But you should approach Yours in Food, John Baldessari as an societal survey cum artist’s book, offered up by one of the great founders of conceptual art. Baldessari’s signature style of appropriated photographs and movie stills, cropped, in this case, to emphasize the culinary activities displayed, is in full effect here. Of course, none of the original image-makers are credited, which adds to the fun of trying to identify which actor or movie is being sliced up (that’s Dick Van Dyke on the cover staring forlornly at a carrot-stick, right?) The other fun is reading all of the ‘meditations,’ most of which were commissioned for this book. I will never be able to eat white toast so nonchalantly having read John Haskell’s short story about falling in love with a diner waitress.

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