The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Cynthia Delaney Suwito Knitting Noodles (2017)
‘Cynthia Delaney Suwito has always appreciated instant noodles as a quick and tasty meal. Now she’s turning them into a performance art piece. The Singapore-based, Indonesian fine arts graduate is knitting noodles at a Singapore gallery, creating a long edible scarf as part of the Untapped Discovery exhibition of emerging artists. ‘The 23-year-old spends three to four hours every day boiling, cooling and then knitting the noodle threads, adding 20-30cm to the length of the piece daily.’


Ayako Fudamoto I can’t sit there (2016)
‘“I can’t sit there” is a mutated chicken sculpture made up of chicken dishes and apparently inspired by an urban legend of a four-legged chicken.’


Dieter Roth Poeterei 3/4 (1968)
‘Swiss provocateur Dieter Roth printed his 1968 poetry journals on bags filled with sauerkraut, lamb or vanilla pudding (the last spiked with urine).’


Andy Yoder Licorice Shoes (2003)
‘Yoder presents a giant pair of black wingtip shoes that mostly fill Plus Ultra’s limited space, turning the gallery into a sort of oversized shoebox. The odor in the space and the shiny surface of the shoes reveal that they are made of licorice. Yoder has clearly traveled far in his pursuit of black licorice. Included on the shoes’ extensive surfaces are licorice swirls, chunks, buttons, dogs and faux euros rimming the soles. Even the laces are made of licorice. The only place where there isn’t any licorice is inside the shoes, where the artist has used shellacked rice paper to perfectly imitate chic leather interiors. Despite their size, the shoes are remarkably lifelike, convincing from every angle.’


Jamie Tan Cakes (2018)
‘In what might be a new standard for food artists everywhere, she’s sent her incredibly detailed cake sculptures down a completely different road: to be displayed in Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, as one component of Argentinian sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas’ exhibition, Theatre of Disappearance. Tan made more than 70 cakes for the exhibition, a process that involved baking at least five cakes every day in the few months prior. Her works are edible but hardly look it. Instead, they emulate the textures and appearances of naturally occurring geographical formations – jagged rocks, molten lava and swirle marble.’


Marcel Odenbach Seduction (2016)
‘The first thing I spot is a big pink painting with three enormous wafer biscuits. It is made by the German (video) artist Marcel Odenbach. Once you start approaching the work however, the wafers disappear, and an endless number of photographs start to show, all of them arranged by colour scheme to form the two different layers, the wafer and the chocolate and hazelnut filling. The big pink background then transforms into pages and pages of books in German. According to the gallery, all these elements together form an ode to the city of Vienna, the wafers as a symbol of the city and the collage of photographs with portraits of famous people as a symbol of the Austrian scientific and cultural world. Among them you can see the neurologist Sigmund Freund or the poet Ingeborg Bachman just to name a few.’


Yosuke Amemiya Apple (2020)
‘Through the ages, I have been associated with immortality, temptation and love. Today, I am all but the humble fruit, a snack. My creator, Yosuke Amemiya, challenged my sweet origins and if you look a little closer, my hyper-realness is brought to life with the help of fibre-reinforced plastic, sculpted, formed, and hand-painted into the juicy, delectable, oddly-fascinating shape that I am. My curious appearance is a question of what is fact or fiction, a riddle. If you hold me – I will surely melt away. If you touch me – my softness will break away. Only with the heart, in total silence – you will find the answer.’


Nayland Blake Gorge (1998)
Gorge (1998) is a video of the artist sitting shirtless being hand-fed an enormous amount of food for an hour by a shirtless black man from behind. In 2009, a live version of Gorge was staged in which audience members fed Blake.’


Chloe Wise Pissing, Shmoozing, and Looking Away (2015)
‘The Canadian-born, New York-based artist Chloe Wise’s first solo show riffs on the luxury handbag trade by recreating purses by Chanel, Coach, Louis Vuitton, and Prada using toast, bagels, challah, and croissants.’


Ed Atkins Old Food (2018)


Maha Malluh Food For Thought – Al Muallaqat (2015)
‘Living and working in Saudi Arabia, artist Maha Malluh’s work centres upon the impact of globalisation and consumer culture within her nation. “My inspiration for art comes from my country, a land of contrasting images and ideas. Good art… forces you to pause, to contemplate and think harder about your surroundings.” Her sculptures are assemblages of objects found in junk shops and flea markets, their decrepit state speaking volumes of the culture that once valued but has now discarded them. Food for Thought – Al-Muallaqat is composed of aluminium cooking pots used traditionally throughout the Arab world. The title Al- Muallaqat links the installation to pre-Islamic 6th century Suspended Odes or Hanging Poems traditionally hung in Mecca.’


Willie Coles Null (2012)
‘The work was produced by casting McDonalds hamburgers. The skull and crossbones depicted on the top of the burger is best understood when paired with the statement by Coles, “Because you know it’s shit, it lacks nutrition, is mostly fat, sugar and carbs. Because this represents the height of our civilisation, shit food made by people on shit pay that fucks your health. Do you want fries with that?”’


Suzanne Anker Remote Sensing (2019)
‘Suzanne Anker is a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. Her practice investigates the ways in which nature is being altered in the 21st century. Concerned with genetics and toxic degradation, Anker frequently works with “pre-defined and found materials” botanical specimens, medical museum artifacts, laboratory apparatus, microscopic images and geological specimens. She works in a variety of mediums ranging from digital sculpture and installation to large-scale photography to plants grown by LED lights.’


Martynka Wawrzyniak Chocolate (2017)
”Chocolate’ is a nine minute film in which the artist gets gradually covered in chocolate syrup, until she is left almost completely submerged.’


Tom Friedman Untitled (Pizza) (2013)
Styrofoam and paint 86 x 86 x 5


Wayne Thiebaud Various (1962-1963)


Kader Attia Untitled (Ghardaïa) (2009)
‘French-Algerian artist Kader Attia’s 2009 scale model of the ancient fortified town Ghardaia in the Saharan M’zab Valley was constructed out of couscous that evoked sand. (Conservators were requested not to rebuild it if it crumbled.)’


Charwei Tsai Tofu Mantra (2005)
Tofu Mantra marks the beginning of the Mantra Series where I wrote the Heart Sutra, which is a Buddhist scripture about the nature of impermanence and emptiness, from memory onto ephemeral objects. While the human flesh-like tofu is decaying, the text transforms through various stages of growth and decay as it materializes from thought.’


James Ostrer Various (2010-2014)
‘Ostrer became fascinated with the idea of sugar as subject matter in 2009 when Kelloggs mascot, Tony the Tiger was banned from television advertising. As a committed confectionary enthusiast, Ostrer describes this work as his caveman paintings about his relationship to food. He explains, “Our ancestors would have had to be stung by a load of bees to get the taste of sweetness but all we have to do is grab something from the nearest shop.” As big business and powerful brands seduce us to consume more sticky unhealthy treats, the question begged, Wotsit all about? Ostrer set to work, planning his distorted sugar icons out of foodstuffs in every kind of convenience food, bought in bulk. Transporting the mass of products back to the studio, he organised the boxes of sweets, buns, crisps and pastries as a painter would a palette, adding dyes and artificial colouring to the cream cheese so that the messy creative process could begin. The models are positioned on a plinth and smeared with layers of lurid-coloured cream cheese and adorned with junk food.’


Janine Antoni Gnaw (1992)
‘Two-part installation: 600 lbs. of chocolate gnawed by the artist; 600 lbs. of lard gnawed by the artist.’


Bob Trotman Cake Lady (2002)


Elizabeth Willing Lick (2018)
Lick showed a girl eating and licking a pane of sugar glass with an up-close focus on how her mouth moves while licking and eating the glass.’


Tony Matelli Double Meat Head (2009)
‘Tony Matelli’s “Double Meat Head,” a self-portrait diptych, represents the two stages of Matelli’s existence — the first stage signified with live, fresh meat, the second stage signified with decay, in which the flesh decomposes, consumed by maggots.’


Alonsa Guevara Various (2014-2017)
Oil on canvas, 8 inches diameter


Zina Saro-Wiwa Barisuka Eats Roasted Ice Fish and Mu (2014)
‘”Table Manners” is a series of films made by video artist Zina Saro-Wiwa is a documentation of her local community in the Niger Delta. Each film has a central character and dish, the subjects face the camera while eating; the sound of their chewing and swallowing contrasts with the relative silence of the everyday task of surviving.’


Oliver Herring Color Spit Quartet (2015)


Meydan Levy Neo Fruit (2019)
‘Bezalel Academy of Art and Design graduate Meydan Levy has developed five edible artificial fruits, which comprise printed cellulose skins filled with a cocktail of vitamins and minerals. Called Neo Fruit, Levy’s fake fruit have soft cases that are 3D-printed from translucent cellulose – an organic compound that gives plants their structure. These skins are then injected with nutrient-rich liquids with various colours and flavours. Levy describes the process as 4D printing because, unlike traditional 3D printing, the final form of the fruit changes after it comes out of the printer. The cellulose skins are printed in a flat, compressed form, and only take on their final fruit-like appearance once the liquid is added. The final form of the fruit is determined by built-in arteries, or micro-tubes, in the 3D-printed structures, which fill up to give the fruit volume.’


Simone Rachell Water Closet, Blow Dryer, Chair (2008)
‘Meat can embody many different meanings and every artist seems to exploit a personal perspective on the overall signification of such material. However I think that the softness and moist qualities of meat most readily suggest links to “the erotic”, but the smell of blood of mutilated corpses and guts may bring to very different realms.’


Justin Favela Floor Nachos Supreme (2019)
‘Justin Favela has always seen nachos as work of art. “The endless combinations of ingredients, the textures, the history and the debate of the best and most original nachos make the dish a conversation piece and catalyst for conversations about belonging and authenticity,” he writes on the text panel for his piñata sculpture “Floor Nachos Supreme.”’


Studio Wieki Somers & Rafael Mutter Chocolate Mill (2012)
‘For a major retrospective of Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld, the team at Studio Wieki Somers collaborated with chocolatier Rafael Mutter to create Chocolate Mill. The piece was comprised of a giant cylindrical chocolate block that was carefully organized in 10 stacked layers, with flavored shapes used to create different geometric patterns. As a crank-turned blade similar to a cheese slicer grazed shavings off the top, the hidden layers were slowly revealed.’


Greely Myatt Piece of Cake (2008)
Cypress and Acrylic 17.75″ x 6.5″ x 3.25″


Caroline Brooks Various (1876-1882)
‘Caroline Brooks, an Arkansas housewife, was the unlikely artist who brought butter sculpture into the spotlight nearly 140 years ago. At the time, farmers’ wives were in charge of churning milk into butter, and often used wooden molds or stamps to shape the bricks. By sculpting the butter instead, Brooks took the practice one step further and turned it into a staple of so many fairs. At the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, Brooks crafted a butter portrait of a young woman called Dreaming Iolanthe and put it on display. According to Pamela Simpson’s book Corn Palaces and Butter Queen, the sculpture was “repeatedly praised as ‘the most beautiful and unique exhibit at the fair.'”‘


Fernando Mastrangelo Medallion (2013)
‘They are handmade versions of ready-made decorative ceiling medallions meant to evoke the plaster Putti ornaments that surround chandelier escutcheons in traditional aristocratic and institutional decoration. Unlike the Home Depot or Lowe’s versions, each are individually made from resin, then carefully articulated with various crystalline materials (specifically commodities like sugar or candy). By hanging his medallions on the wall, instead of from a ceiling with lavish chandeliers descending from their cut-out centers, New York-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo clearly addresses commodification and decoration. These evoke the idea of paste-on history, of shelf commodities presented for inspection by prospective carry-trade buyers who (theoretically) prefer to see their ceiling decoration at eye level with the gaping center hole staring blankly back.’


Carmen Argote Cotton-Candy Tumbleweeds (2012)
‘Tumbleweeds found on the unearth Selig zoo site roll down into the amusement park and become intertwined with the lingering presence of the park.’


Alexandre Dubosc Freequences (2019)
‘Pavlovian short film optico-auricular. (Sculpture Cake or “Caketrope” filmed live on the theme of sound.)’


Eduardo Navarro Into Ourselves (2018)
‘In his exhibit “Into Ourselves”, visitors will find dozens of pen-and-paper drawings spread out under heat lamps, and a large soup pot on a hot plate in one corner of the room. On the nights that Navarro holds a serving, he dissolves one or more drawings into the pot of soup and hands out individual cup servings to visitors. Navarro explains that these specific drawings, made using rice paper and edible sharpie, are actually based on concepts of quantum physics, such as the holographic principle. The majority of Navarro’s artwork is thematically designed to involve all of our senses, not just sight. He refers to the stomach as a kind of “internal eye” and elaborates on the idea of patrons being able to take away a part of the exhibit visit with them, absorbing the essence of the art into their bodies.’




p.s. Hey. ** Conrad, Hi, Conrad. Thank you so much, and it’s really good to have you here. That is a very interesting question about Rhys and Nathalie Sarraute. I have no idea. I wonder if one could find out. You were at the Pompidou premiere of Patric’s film? I was there, well, if we’re talking about the same screening. I’m happy you like the film. Yes, I just saw that Le Clef is screening ‘Glitterbug’. I’m going to try to go if I can. Such a great place/project: Le Clef, no? Thanks again. Come back anytime. If we’re at the same event out there in Paris, say hey if you feel like it. ** h (now j), Hi. Yes, yes, she was/is really something. Ah, I know so well about interesting projects that don’t pay well. In fact I think those are the only projects I know. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yes, she was a very special artist. I look forward to reading your piece! Everyone, Mr. Ehrenstein has written a very interesting sounding piece that you oughta read. David: ‘Here’s a piece I’ve written for Benjamin DeMott’s website “First of The Month”: “Keeping Up Appearances” It’s about Agent Orange and Erving Goffman.’ ** Bill, Hi, B. Yes, I hope Alan’s holding up. I haven’t interacted with him since the last time he popped in here unexpectedly a couple years ago. I saw that Cahun show. Yoshiharu Tsuge … hm, I don’t know. I’ll go search him out and see. And I’ll try to find ‘The Swamp’. There’s a pretty good store near me that specialises in manga. Thanks, pal. ** _Black_Acrylic, Oh, man, I went through that: the building I lived in being sold and having to vacate. Stressful. But I’m sure you’ll find something as good, and nice about the long fair warning at least. But … excellent about the show! And the regular spot to boot! That’s fantastic news! I’m assuming I/we will be able to tune in? Keep me informed. Great, Ben! ** Misanthrope, Yes, it’s the same Alan. Same with me: not a peep. Logic is my saviour. I used to swear by Oscillococcinum. It was always kind of a miracle thing for me. But I haven’t sought it out over here. Right, it’s July 4th almost. I forgot. Well, enjoy the weekend, and, yeah, keep your distances. ** Steve Erickson, Ira Robbins, right. That’s cool news. I was a dedicated Trouser Press reader back in the day. Hope that works out, obviously. Seems like it will. Why wouldn’t it, I guess? I thought the early Araki was interesting, uneven but promising. But then he decided to make snark his thing, and his scripts became intolerable (to me), but he found his thing, and he has his big fans, that’s for sure. And James Duval is always wonderful in the films if nothing else. No, the COVID-related visual art so far is very obvious and didactic, very Ai Wei Wei, who, of course, is already cranking out big ‘poetic’, ‘meaningful’ COVID-milking installation pieces. I’ve heard nothing about the NYFF this year, only what Nik wrote the other day. ** Okay. Today’s post has an ‘evil’ sibling post that will appear here tomorrow. That is all. Try to enjoy. See you tomorrow.


  1. Scunnard

    Hi Dennis, days like this always make me happy!

  2. h (now j)

    food sculptures and videos! Everything looks very interesting and evocative. Tofu Mantra! I read somewhere tofu got more consumed here during this pandemic in fear of infected meat and, for some, against factory farm industry. I’m a vegetarian (almost vegan) anyway, so I had tofu as usual but preparing it felt more precious or ritualistic. Wow, I love those Chocolate Mill and Freequences, too. Geometric and sonic art chocolate cakes! I should look and find some (however less interesting versions) this summer. For now I think I will get chocolate ice cream from my dive deli here. It’s a bit expensive for me right now but why not just for a day. Stay cool this weekend! It’s been quite warm here in NYC.

  3. h (now j)

    By the way NYFF organized a new selection committee (while still keeping some from previous committee) and, as far as I know, they are interesting people who can give some fresh and subtle insights to the programs I hope. In general I agree with Steve that their experimental film programs (Projections) are a bit too chaotic and massive for a few day exhibition. I prefer TIFF’s Wavelengths and San Francisco Cinematheque’s Crossroads. (And a few more less known…in North America. But you know there are a lot more in other continents nowadays.) I think ideas in Wavelengths’ and Crossroads’ curations are artistically more original and distant to nepotism and mere exhibition trends…in my opinion. But then I’m curious to see how they will respond to this pandemic curatorially somehow.

  4. John Christopher

    Heyyy Dennis, how are you doing? Remember I mentioned my class had a magazine coming out w/Morrisroe stuff (&many other cool stuff) well it’s finally up&breathing! will be updated every Friday (have u read June Caldwell? We have a story from her. She’s an Irish writer & has some fucking amazing stories that Take u very quickly into weird&frightening sexual/nightmare territory) anyways there it is. phew. i think the morrisroe stuff will be up nxt week but not totally sure. enjoy yr weekend:-)

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Aahh fuckhole247 from the recent slave roundup had the biscuit sculpture that I’d maybe hoped to see here. Or could his stuff be waiting for the ‘evil’ sibling post? Anyhow there’s plenty of extraordinary art foodstuffs today to tide me over. Especially loving those Cotton-Candy Tumbleweeds which have a truly uncanny quality.

  6. Misanthrope

    Dennis, A Galerie of food! I still want to eat one of those baby cakes, the ones that look like a real newborn and you have to cut into the head. I like those kinds of cakes that look like real things…but I’ve never had one.

    Yeah, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself falling back on or into logic as a ruling mode in my encounters with things and people in the world. Sometimes, there are things that just don’t make sense and probably never will, but most things can be sorted through logic and practicality or what “makes sense.”

    Can’t imagine I’ll be going out too much this weekend. Frankly, it’s not because of COVID-19 worry or any of that; I just don’t have anything planned or to do, and I’m okay with that. 😀

    It’s weird, in regular times, I’d find myself doing “something” every weekend and needing a break. Now, I find myself very rarely doing “something” and need a break. I guess that’s how things go. Just got to find that balance.

    Think I might cook out for the family this weekend, just regular cookout stuff. Otherwise, chillin’ like a villain.

    Hope you have a good weekend, too.

  7. Bill

    While my reaction to the cake-themed pieces is usually “yummmm”, the thought of sitting on that chicken chair just makes me shudder. Those meat furniture pieces are mighty fine too. At first I thought the blowdryer was that meat gun from Cronenberg’s Existenz.

    Hope you New Yorkers are staying cool. San Francisco seems to have emptied out already. I’ll probably stay home a lot and do the usual movie binge; so many juicy items on my watchlist to look forward to. On that note, Dennis is Bastille Day going to be somewhat different this year?

    h (now j), my classes are almost exclusively on the technical side. Unfortunately I’m in the wrong department to teach the kind of stuff that I’m more excited about! It’s good to not have to worry about making rent though.



    • h (now j)

      @Bill, being near-vegan, imagining myself sitting on chicken chair makes me immediately shudder, too. It works bc it’s quite hot here today. When I was writing on Stan VanDerBeek (do you like his works?), the archive director gave me a free ac for my sanity and I’m using it right now. I feel so grateful for it, obviously. I hope other New Yorkers on this blog are staying cool this weekend.

  8. chris dankland

    there was so much cool stuff in here !! my favorite was the ed atkins sandwich video, I loved that – I checked out a bit more of his work and it all looks really interesting. I’m gonna dig into him some more.
    I would very much like to try one of those 3d printed fruits – learning about futuristic things like that feels so disorienting to me sometimes…the accelerating rate at which the world is become unprecedented, so many new things that have never been seen before. digital animation makes me feel that way too, like that sandwich video.

    eating is so weird. there have been times when I’ve imagined aliens visiting earth and being disgusted and outraged about how all the organisms get their energy around here. everyone has to destroy something else in order to live. plus just how generally gross and weird it is to put something inside yr body and smush it up with yr teeth and tongue and swallow it down and digest it and shit it out.

    maybe on other planets everybody just goes sunbathing, or drinks in space radiation or something. a very suspect way to make a universe, if there could be a choice in how it was designed. food chains seem immoral.

    well on that note, I’m intrigued to see the blog’s evil sibling tomorrow !! take care !!

    PS: I’m sorry, I meant to say that don weise is jennifer’s publisher, not agent. I don’t know how I substituted one word for another 🙂

  9. Steve Erickson

    Here’s my review of Ulrich Kohler’s BUNGALOW, now available to stream in the US:

    I enjoyed Irish artist John Lalor’s short INCIDENT URBAIN, which can be viewed on the Cinematheque Francaise’s website, and, to a lesser extent, Werner Herzog’s FAMILY ROMANCE, LLC. INCIDENT URBAIN is an oblique film inspired by Parisian architecture where the camera keeps running away from its ostensible subjects, two mysterious men played by Jean-Francois Stevenin and André S. Labarthe. I thought of John le Carre with almost all the narrative taken out.

    Damon Packard is busy engaging in COVID trutherism on Facebook. I guess he’s serious about the flirtation with conspiracy theories in FATAL PULSE.

    My favorite Araki films are MYSTERIOUS SKIN & SMILEY FACE. But his perpetual fallback seems to be doomed but sexy youth with a 4AD soundtrack.

  10. Corey Heiferman

    @BlackAcrylic yeah the biscuit sculptures were fun, would love to see more if they exist.

    I deeply enjoyed just about everything here. By all indications Mayan Levy is still in Israel so I’ll keep a lookout for his work. I went to the Bezalel art school show last year (year after Levy). I enjoyed the work by their Industrial Design students. The ideas are too practical for what’s currently regarded as fine art and too far-fetched for what’s currently regarded as engineering, so the target audiences are pragmatic art buyers and whimsical tech investors.

    I’m curious what LACMA does with the cake art. Do they preserve it somehow? Or serve it to their most generous donors?

    The butter sculpture was always a highlight of the Big E (combined state fair for six New England states) growing up:

    I had two bizarre poetic moments last week. Trying to transform my life into a non-murderous “Out 1” subplot, finding some success.

    First I was called out of the blue for an interview with a leading radio station for a segment on my new favorite bookstore. Don’t know yet if I made the cut but a fun experience. Felt weird and encouraging to be interviewed about small press poetry when I’m still far from mastering the language.

    Then over the course of the week I read a new poetry book titled “The Big Bear” in the park. After I finished the book I noticed a bronze statue of a bear in the area. So I sent the poet a photo of the bear. Turns out that’s the bear she named the book after. I don’t remember this being mentioned explicitly in any of the poems.

    What does the weekend hold in store? Also, what’s new in your creative struggles with the French TV industry?

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