"My background is not from activism," Westphal says. "But in a way you become (an activist) when you start dealing with subjects and realizing what goes wrong. You become politicized in a way."
Food as art, and art as food for thought, creates the context for Westphal's "Cornucopia," which will officially open
The art center and residency takes its name from the building that houses it at the corner of
Ming will celebrate its new digs twice -- first on
This is now one of a handful of artist residencies in
Artists will live in
The added global dimension will give a boost to the local arts community, says artist
"Having these artists come here will bring an awareness internationally that
It's an ambitious project from entrepreneur
"I've always been impressed with what
This isn't Westphal's first time in
He also is a multimedia artist who is gaining international notoriety. Westphal has shown in
It made sense to jumpstart the process with Westphal, who also knows about constructing exhibition spaces, Morales says. Westphal helped design the center and build walls and storage space, along with his own installation.
"The show also is good fit for
"Cornucopia" is an artistic exploration of the tension between worldwide industrial food production and our romantic notions of our pastoral past.
It grew out of Westphal's focus on natural phenomenon.
"You have to be a bit obsessive to be an artist, I think," he says.
His focus on food started when he began photographing produce he found at a Turkish market near his home in
"That was a key moment for me in realizing that our whole food system and how we perceive it is an illusion," he says, because it's not only the shapes that are being suppressed -- it's the diversity.
"There are thousands of varieties of any given plant and we only cultivate a handful on a massive scale," he says.
Westphal started collecting seeds of noncommercial varieties, growing them on his rooftop "farm" and photographing them.
"Cornucopia" exposes some of that illusion and tries to get you thinking with his "Mutatoes" and "Cultivars" photo series. He also created an installation of fluorescent tubes that stores use to make food look better, and a large faux barn.
"I've been looking at all the red barns depicted on American food products. This barn is basically losing its function these days -- it's just a facade," he says.
The "Cornucopia" exhibit will set the tone for what Ming seeks to achieve, says
"We'll always have some kind of collaboration with local artists and the community," she says.
This time, Ming is collaborating with the
The group received a microgrant from
(c)2014 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)
Visit The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) at www.idahostatesman.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services