Mark Ingram Jr. next to his chicken-salad based portrait bust (image via

In your quirky art news of the day: a Midtown Manhattan Subway restaurant has created a lifesize bust of football player and NFL draft pick Mark Ingram Jr. The twist? The 40-pound bust is made of chicken salad, veggies and other non-traditional art materials commonly found in Subways, reports New York Daily News.

This mammoth sculpture features what appears to be slices of bread composing Ingram’s head, celery sticks to render his uniform and an unhealthily large mass of chicken salad for the player’s body, supported by a framework of plaster and wire. Ingram “posed with the bust but chose not to take a bite,” which I think we can all agree is a good decision. “It’s a chicken salad of me, man,” he commented.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo, “Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, as a ‘Vegetable Man’” (1591) (image via

Fellow footballer and Giants defensive end Justin Tuck also declined to sample the sculpture: “I don’t know how practical it is,” Tuck said. “I see a lot of things (on it) I’d like to have on my salad right now but can’t cause it’s like a week old.” Created by sculptor James Victor, the piece is a triumph of sports-related food art, a sadly under-explored genre.

Victor’s work isn’t without precedent, though. I’m thinking both of carved butter table centerpiece sculptures (check out one, amazingly, of Marilyn Monroe here) and of those Baroque paintings featuring human figures made of vegetable, the work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo in particular. Check out his “Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, as a “Vegetable Man” (Roman God of the seasons Vertumnus)” of 1591 at left.

There’s also this totally bizarre Tokyo ad campaign for a Suntory canned vegetable drink, in which a handsome vegetable man goes on lovely dates with a nice human woman. “I love vegi!” she exclaims, surely influenced by Arcimboldo. So really, is Ingram’s chicken salad bust the best fresh food art out there? Maybe not, but it’s still the most ridiculous (and calorie-laden).

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...