MEXICO CITY, May 12, 2022.- The National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (Inbal), through the National Museum of Art (Munal), presents the exhibition Feast of Flavors. Mexican Banquet, a cultural overview of food and its different habits and representations, consisting of nearly 300 pieces from 70 private and institutional collections, from pre-Hispanic times to contemporary art.
Food, one of the most represented topics in art since classical antiquity, is the main theme of the great exhibition with which the venue will celebrate its 40th anniversary, within the framework of the #BackAVerte strategy of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico.
The exhibition is divided into six thematic nuclei: Preamble, which includes a large-format work by Ángel Zárraga; Historical, a documentary review of the syncretism in Mexican food, from the pre-Hispanic world to the present day; The Market and its derivatives, made up of pieces on crops, fruits, vegetables and their commercialization.
The Intimacy of the Kitchen, dedicated to cupboards, dining rooms and kitchens; Still lifes: the exaltation of the pleasure that delights with fruits, meats, breads and culinary traditions, and Current Food, which shows how the way of consuming food has changed since the second half of the 20th century.
In the Silvio Contri Room, the tour will be adorned by a Mexican table created by Alfredo Marín: a scenographic montage decorated with furniture, pieces and dining objects that exalts the festive character, joy and color of national crafts.
Under the curatorship of María Estela Duarte and the assistance of Emmanuel Ortiz and a large body of researchers, Festín de Sabores. Banquete Mexicano emphasizes genre painting and still life, both of which developed in the Netherlands in the 17th century and later in much of Europe.
In genre painting, the scenes give an account of daily life, in which food, kitchen utensils and dining rooms are treated in great detail and are the protagonists of the composition. These types of pieces were part of the dining rooms as a decorative element and wealthy families began to be the new consumers of this pictorial genre.
In New Spain, it became still lifes and paintings of castes that testified to the new and exotic foods –sometimes accompanied by characters from different social strata in market settings, banquets or laid tables–, which gave rise to artistic languages far from prevailing religious images. These themes continued until the 19th century at the San Carlos Academy, where examples brought from Europe were adapted to local tastes.
The artists of the 19th and 21st centuries, eager to address the new tastes and products of the capitalist and commercial era, took up this search in which fruits and vegetables join traditions and festivities, canned and industrialized foods, desserts and new spaces of consumption that are seen through the prism of the avant-garde and contemporary reflections.
Still life was an innovative genre in the description of uses, customs, ideas and values. It has been, at the same time, a way of experimentation that, on other occasions, would seem trivial as it is only a decorative element. However, its renewal is constant throughout the generations as reflection, analysis and sense of belonging.
This exhibition will be accompanied by a virtual academic program in which different specialists will address various issues of gastronomic culture over time. Among the speakers are Carmen López-Portillo Romano, Ángeles González Gamio, Ricardo Muñoz Zurita and José Iturriaga de la Fuente.
The exhibition will be complemented with educational activities organized by the Munal+Educa department and aimed at girls, boys, young people, the elderly and people with disabilities. The use of an educational vehicle in the corridors of the museum stands out, dynamics and on-site games for the whole family and workshops on creative banquets to be held at home.