Friday, April 24, 2009

A Feast of a Different Kind

Whenever I see Dzunuk'wa, I am reminded of how different the communal meals of the Native Americans were from those depicted in the art of the modern western world. Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) by Édouard Manet was rejected by the Salon in 1863. The jury was horrified that Manet had painted a nude woman with two clothed men on a picnic. Not always noticed is the nude bathing in the background. Some say this painting was originally called The Bath. With either title the communal food of the western world seems far more sedate even with naked women juxtaposed with clothed men. About this time while I was thinking about food and its presentation, Alfred Maurer chimed in that he hopes to visit the Portland Art Museum so that he can see the feast bowl. He's not convinced that it's as long as I have been telling him it is. He also wants to show me some paintings at the museums here in New York that depict communal eating.

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