Photo Essays

Thanksgiving Meals for Modern Artists

Hannah Rothstein, "Piet Mondrian (2014) (all images courtesy the artist, via hrothstein.com)
Hannah Rothstein, “René Magritte” (2014) (all images courtesy the artist, via hrothstein.com)

What would Vincent van Gogh’s Thanksgiving spread have looked like? Would Jackson Pollock have been as gestural in his deployment of gravy and cranberry sauce as he was with his paints? Would Piet Mondrian have been as judicious in his doling out of mashed potatoes and turkey as he was with his reds, blues, and yellows? The San Francisco-based artist Hannah Rothstein proposes answers to these burning questions in her series “How Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Meals.”

The results range from appetizing to off-putting, but in most cases Rothstein has done a good job cooking up culinary corollaries for the visual styles associated with each of the artists. There’s a pointillist pumpkin for Georges Seurat — which, in a pinch, could also be a Yayoi Kusama pumpkin — a careful rectabular arrangement of mashed potato, cranberry, and gravy to evoke Mark Rothko’s ambient paintings, and even a messy self-portrait in homage to Cindy Sherman. Revenue from sales of limited edition prints of the images, available through Rothstein’s website, benefits the SF-Marin Food Bank.

“I really love making art and I think bringing beauty into the world is important, but in many ways I find art to be a selfish act,” Rothstein told Time. “So for this, it made sense to donate to the food bank to help people who couldn’t afford their own Thanksgiving meals to have one.”

Hannah Rothstein, "Andy Warhol" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Andy Warhol” (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, "Vincent van Gogh" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Vincent van Gogh” (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, "Cindy Sherman" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Cindy Sherman” (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, "Georges Seurat" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Georges Seurat” (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, "Mark Rothko" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Mark Rothko” (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, "Jackson Pollock" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Jackson Pollock” (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, "Piet Mondrian" (2014)
Hannah Rothstein, “Piet Mondrian” (2014)
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