Cold hands, warm art: winter recipes from leading artists

Cold hands, warm art: winter recipes from leading artists

Artist’s Palate is Wallpaper’s modern take on a recipe function. It’s a tribute to our favorite contemporary art, but also an excuse for some practical creativity at Wallpaper * HQ.

The process is (usually) simple: We contact our favorite artists and request their favorite recipe. Then, after some creative deliberation, we construct the court in response to the artist’s work, in collaboration with top photographers, scenographers and chefs.

The series was conceived in 2009, inspired by a MoMA cookbook from 1977, in which artists served their favorite dishes – think of Robert Indiana’s Hoosier Borscht or Salvador Dalí’s Green Vegetable Purée. Since then, we have collected more than 120 contributions. The answers have been varied, from deeply personal childhood favorites and curious – sometimes challenging – instructions to originally conceived works of art (hats off to Judy Chicago). Over the years, it has offered joy, laughter, surprises, food for thought and lesser known insights into each artist’s life and work.

As winter descends upon us, we have searched through the Artist’s Palate archives to find you the best cordial home comfort and bold culinary combinations to spice up the festivities.

10 festive feasts from Kunstnerens Gane recipe archive

Ulla from Brandenburg’s orangettes

Photo: Philippe Fragnière. Interior: Olly Mason. Entertaining Director: Melina Keays

Terry’s Chocolate Orange may well be a festive staple (at least in the UK), but we suggest an alternative to this classic citrus-cocoa combination: orangettes, courtesy of German artist Ulla von Brandenburg. If you need us, we swing around the orange tree and chat about Brandenburg’s biscuit-shaped delicacies, brandy soaked and half dipped in chocolate.

Tom Sachs’ baked Alaska

Photo: John Short. Entertaining Director: Melina Keays. Interior: Matthew Morris

What screams ‘winter nights’ louder than a roaring bonfire? Luckily, Tom Sachs has us covered. His Fiery Re-entry Descent Dessert is a pudding-shaped spaceship, created according to an exact chart he provided. Sachs also outlined a few details for a smooth start: Bacardi 151 to ignite, Sara Lee whole-butter pound cake for insulation and ‘American flag toothpicks to show patriotism and disagreement at the same time’ – bet you did not see it coming. He also suggests Tyvek mittens to serve; we suggest caution when trying this at home.

Louise Bourgeois’ lamb shank with vegetables

Photography: Henry Bourne; Interior: Amy Heffernan; Food: Bridget Sargeson

The late, great Louise Bourgeois; an icon of modern art whose bulbous, erotic, latex or fabric-filled protrusions and severed animal limbs embody trauma, sexuality and homeliness. Little girl, an unmistakable penis, almost two feet high, hung from a butcher’s hook from the ceiling; another portrayed her childhood fantasy of chopping her dictatorial father into pieces of flesh. The appetite still intact? Try Bourgeois’ lamb shank with vegetables for a solid home coziness.

Cornelia Parker’s eggs

Photo: Zachary Zavislak. Interior: Linda Keil. Stylist: Pei-Ru Keh

Cornelia Parker’s art is about destruction, resurrection and reconfiguration, which is all we can hope for in the attempt to reconstruct her recipe for eggs. When she submitted the dish, her instructions were appropriately conceptual: that we cook an egg in the style we choose ourselves, but do so left-handed and blindfolded. We can guarantee festive entertainment for the whole family, but can not promise that it will be beautiful.

Christian Marclays half and half fondue

Photo: Gustav Almestål. Interior: Maria Sobrino

Nothing notices the arrival of Christmas with more enthusiasm than the gloomy sound of a French horn, especially when the French horn can also act as a melting pot for a moitié-moitié cheese fondue. Christian Marclay, an audiovisual surrealist like no other, suggested a Valais region dry white as accompaniment. We are already dizzy.

Charles Gaines’ candid yams in southern style

Photo: Nicolas Polli

Through lattice-like compositions and rule-based processes, American artist Charles Gaines explores how art can adapt to systems and work against them. He offered a detailed formula for Southern-style candied yams, attributed to his mother, Amelia. The results are a sweet-meets-root-vegetable flavor that sits somewhere between candied yams and sweet potato pie.

Cindy Sherman’s gnocchi with sage and butter sauce

Photo: John Short. Interior: Maria Sobrino: Food: Nicolas Ghirlando

Winter time: cue the inevitable ‘new year, new me’ manifesto. No artist has taken self-transformation to greater extremes than Cindy Sherman, whose self-portraits under different guises are at once funny, disturbing and nostalgic. As it turns out, Sherman is also a dab hand with a scoop of potato and flour. Her recipe for crescent-shaped gnocchi – complete with hyper-detailed method – provides the ultimate heart clam.

Daniel Buren’s oysters and truffle

Photo: Stephen Lenthal

If you described Daniel Buren’s work in a game of festive charades, there’s one motive you might find hard to avoid. As our editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas recently recalled creating the French artist’s oyster and truffle recipe: ‘He dared me not to use stripes.’ As challenging requests for Artist’s Palate go, this cherry was on top. The dish is one characterized by colorful optimism and celebration (unless you take the bill yourself).

William Eggleston’s shepherd’s cake

Photo: Zachary Zavislak

While shepherds keep an eye on their flocks at night, you will probably find us eagerly watching William Eggleston’s shepherd’s pie. In keeping with his work, the famous photographer’s traditional everyday recipe was transformed into a delicacy. In a cinematic twist, Eggleston’s pie is adapted to a recipe by filmmaker Richard Leacock.

Ed Ruschas cactus omelet

Photo: Zachary Zavislak. Interior: Tiziana Agnello. Mad: Brian Preston-Campbell

As author Paul McCann remarked in 2010: ‘You can never be sure when you ask Ed Ruscha about his favorite dishes if he wants to eat them or work with them.’ So if we play it on the safe side (recommended when cutting dangerous food into cubes), we assumed that both used for his cactus omelette recipe. This dish, equipped with some important handwritten, text-based advice, could serve as a reminder of sunnier skies during dark winter months (specifically in Ruscha’s adopted state of California) – just beware of the spine.

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