If the Getty Center in Los Angeles is going to treat salad as art, then you can bet iceberg lettuce is not part of the equation. And indeed, from now through January 11, the Salad Garden performance art stage features artists making salads from more than 50 exquisite heirloom herbs, vegetables and edible flowers. Part of the spectacle is also the artists devouring their salads on site.
Brooklyn photographer and writer Julia Sherman first established salad as a serious medium with her Salad for President blog. She then put in an acclaimed garden installation on the roof of MoMA's PS1 in New York last year.
As she's moved the garden west to the Getty, she's tapped a dozen contemporary artists from across the country, including Larry Bell, Harry Gesner and Richard Irwin, to make salads with her here.
Sherman says the salad garden is an opportunity for artists to learn about rare heirloom plant varieties and engage with these plants as their materials in a new way.
"Every salad is a new take, especially when the prompt is to make something based off of what we're growing here," Sherman says. "We have some familiar plants, but a lot of these plants people have never had before. Even if artists come with a plan which we develop ahead of time, there's a certain element of chance and improvisation that necessarily happens on site."
A fluid and flexible community space is what the Getty is after, too, says Sarah Cooper, who works in educational programs division and convinced Sherman to bring the salad garden to California.