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The Williams College Museum of Art Presents The Place of Taste: A Symposium on Food, Culture, and Community

For immediate release: September 8, 2010

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is pleased to announce The Place of Taste: A Symposium on Food, Culture, and Community to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. This delectable, daylong event features an array of chefs, writers, scholars, and artists, as well as an architectural dessert and a farmers’ market. The event takes place on Saturday, October 2 at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College. This event is free; please RSVP to wcmareservations@gmail.com or call 413-597-4545 by September 20. Guests are invited to view the complete schedule on wcma.williams.edu and attend all or some of the day’s events.

The Place of Taste showcases a menu of enticing events and discussion, including keynote speaker Adam Gopnik, author of the forthcoming The Table Comes First and staff writer at The New Yorker, and White House Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses. The day’s events will be punctuated by a sense-delighting architectural dessert designed by Joshua Needleman, creator of Chocolate Springs Café (Lenox, MA), and a musical interlude by the Williams Chamber Choir.

A panel discussion about the dimensions of taste will include Carolyn Korsmeyer (Professor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, SUNY), John E. Finn (Professor of Government, Wesleyan University), and Deborah Rothschild (Curator Emerita, WCMA), moderated by Mitchell Davis (Vice President of the James Beard Foundation). Contemporary artist Pepón Osorio and Williams art professor Ed Epping will discuss the cultural perceptions of taste and finally, Dan Barber (Executive Chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns) will examine taste and sustainability. A farmers’ market concludes the day of events, highlighting over 18 farms and vendors selling local artisanal foods and products.

“This symposium offers a wonderful opportunity to increase awareness of food studies at Williams and to explore the many ways in which food enriches our individual and collective lives,” explains Gastronomica editor-in-chief and Williams professor Darra Goldstein. “I am enormously grateful to WCMA for the museum’s generosity and support for this interdisciplinary project, which both celebrates and reflects Gastronomica’s mission.”

Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture has been nourishing readers’ minds and senses since 2001.  Through its diverse voices and provocative, often playful mix of essays and visual imagery, the journal brings together writers, artists, scholars, chefs, and passionate amateurs to reflect on the wider cultural and political significance of food.

“It’s a thrilling opportunity to collaborate with Professor Darra Goldstein and GastronomicaGastronomica,” says WCMA director Lisa Corrin. “We are so excited to be able to bring together such a wide variety of perspectives about food and culture. Building upon the relationships we’ve fostered over the past year by working with Pepón Osorio on Drowned in a Glass of Water, this symposium will enable the museum to continue moving beyond its own walls to explore the rich and diverse food community of the region.”

Guests will also have an opportunity to see Drowned in a Glass of Water: An Installation by Pepón Osorio at WCMA, which was commissioned by the museum on the occasion of Gastronomica’s 10th anniversary. Using themes of food, culture, and community as a starting point, Osorio spent the past year sharing conversations, stories, and meals with many people in both Williamstown and North Adams. The resulting artwork represents the stories of two families, transforming personal memory into a collective narrative. Following Osorio’s practice, the large-scale multimedia installation was first on view at a former Chevrolet dealership in North Adams, and is now at the museum this fall. By shifting context, the project enables WCMA to link audiences in dialogue and reflection and become a crossroad to the community. Drowned in a Glass of Water: An Installation by Pepón Osorio will be on view at WCMA through February 11, 2011. Admission to the museum is always free.

About the Speakers

Dan Barber

Dan Barber’s writings on food and agricultural policy have appeared in the New York Times, Gourmet, The Nation, Saveur, and Food & Wine. His efforts to create a consciousness around our everyday food choices have led him to the World Economic Forum’s 2010 annual meeting, as well as to TED2010, where he looked toward a new ecological approach to cuisine. Appointed by Barack Obama to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Barber continues to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table. As chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Barber has received the James Beard awards for Best Chef: New York City (2006) and for Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of the world’s most influential people in Time magazine’s annual “Time 100.”

Lisa Corrin

Lisa Graziose Corrin is the Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art. She previously held the positions of Chief Curator at The Contemporary Museum (Baltimore), Chief Curator at the Serpentine Gallery (London), and Deputy Director of Art/Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Seattle Art Museum, where she was the artistic lead on the new waterfront Olympic Sculpture Park. Corrin has curated over fifty solo and group exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as innovative exhibitions using the permanent collections of The Maryland Historical Society, The Walters Art Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has also published widely on contemporary art, public art, museology, and curatorial practice. Her book Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson was awarded the Wittenborn Prize in 1994. She has also coauthored a Phaidon monograph on Mark Dion.

Mitchell Davis

Mitchell Davis, Vice President of the James Beard Foundation, is a cookbook author, a food journalist, and a scholar with a Ph.D. in Food Studies from NYU’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. He has written four cookbooks, most recently Kitchen Sense (Clarkson Potter, 2006), and is a regular contributor to the Art of Eating. Davis’s academic work focuses on restaurants, media, and taste, particularly the role restaurant reviews play in shaping food preferences. His newest initiative at the Beard Foundation is “The System on Our Plates,” a national dialogue on sustainability and public health in the restaurant industry. In addition to his work at the Foundation, Davis frequently reviews restaurants and holds a chair on the academy of the London-based World’s 50 Best Restaurants program.

Ed Epping

Artist Ed Epping integrates his work as educator, imagist, and activist through collaborative structures. His images, based on properties of trace, delay, and proximity, investigate a mechanics of memory. These personal (or constituent) memories, complemented with cultural memory, have structured artist books, paintings, drawings, and sculpture that have borrowed from both classical and physiological constructs of mnemonic operations. Epping received his undergraduate and graduate degree from Western Illinois University and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the Alexander Falck Class of 1899 Professor of Art and Faculty Director of the Multicultural Center at Williams.

John Finn

John E. Finn is Professor and Chair of the Department of Government at Wesleyan University. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University, a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University, and a degree in culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute. Finn teaches courses on constitutional theory, civil liberties, and the rule of law. He also teaches courses on cuisine and popular culture, food in film, and occasionally on wine appreciation. His works in the field of food studies include a review essay on Julia Child in Gastronomica and “The Kitchen Voice as Confessional” in Food, Culture, and Society. He is also the author of Constitutions in Crisis: Political Violence and the Rule of Law (Oxford University Press, 1991) and coauthor of American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes, 3rd edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).

Darra Goldstein

Darra Goldstein is Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Russian at Williams College and Founding Editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. She has published numerous scholarly articles and books and has organized exhibitions on art and culture, such as Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. She is also the author of four cookbooks, including The Georgian Feast, the 1994 IACP Julia Child Cookbook of the Year. Goldstein has consulted for the Council of Europe on the use of food as a means to promote tolerance and diversity, and under her editorship Culinary Cultures of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue was published in 2005. She is currently Food Editor of Russian Life magazine and series editor of California Studies in Food and Culture (University of California Press).

Adam Gopnik

A writer for The New Yorker since 1986, Adam Gopnik received his B.A. in Art History from McGill University and then did graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He was the art critic for The New Yorker from 1986 to 1995 and has since written novels, short stories, essays, and more. His most recent book, Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Lincoln, Darwin And Modern Life (2009) was a national bestseller. His forthcoming book, The Table Comes First, features his food writing from The New Yorker over the past 25 years. Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, as well as the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting, and the Canadian National Magazine Award Gold Medal for arts writing.

Carolyn Korsmeyer

Carolyn Korsmeyer is Professor of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Her major area of research is aesthetics, a field for which “taste” has served as a guiding metaphor for three centuries. She has investigated literal, gustatory taste in her book Making Sense of Taste: Food and Philosophy (1999), exploring the aesthetic dimensions of food and drink. Her edited collection, The Taste Culture Reader (2005), presents a cross-section of different disciplinary approaches to taste and eating. Korsmeyer examines an emotion that might seem to represent the opposite of taste in her most recent book, Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics (forthcoming 2011). She is a past president of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Pepón Osorio

Best known for his large-scale installations that merge conceptual art and community dynamics, Osorio’s work emphasizes the exhibition space as an intermediary between the social architecture of communities and the mainstream art world. Since 1990 he has participated in numerous solo exhibitions and international venues, such as the 1993 Biennial Exhibition of the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was awarded the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts: Visual Arts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1999, the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2001, The Smithsonian Legacy Award for the Visual Arts in 2008, and the Fleisher Art Memorial Founder’s Award in 2009. Since 2006 he has been a Professor of Art at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Deborah Rothschild

Deborah Rothschild, Curator Emerita of Modern and Contemporary Art at WCMA, oversaw more than 50 exhibitions in her 24 years there. Prelude to a Nightmare: Art, Politics, and Hitler’s Early Years in Vienna 1906—1913 received an award from the New England Section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) in 2003, and Dr Rothschild was also honored with two first-place National AICA awards for Tony Oursler: Introjection (2000) and for Making It New: the Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy (2009). She is the author of Picasso’s ‘Parade’: from Street to Stage and is currently researching Mme. Eugenia Errázuriz, a woman of style who befriended and supported Picasso during the 1920s.

Bill Yosses

After graduating from New York City College of Technology, Yosses’s first job was in a restaurant in Paris called La Foux d’Alose. It was love at first bite and sparked a craving to cook, bake, and eat that continues today. Returning to New York, he worked as pastry chef at Bouley Restaurant, Tavern on the Green, and Citarella Restaurant. In 2006 he worked on the opening of The Dressing Room, in Westport, Connecticut, a restaurant conceived by actor/philanthropist Paul Newman and Chef Michel Nischan and devoted to highlighting sustainability by using local and natural ingredients from the region’s farmers. Yosses is the coauthor, with Melissa Clark, of The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion. He was hired by Mrs. Laura Bush in 2007 as Executive Pastry Chef at The White House.

This event is made possible by: The Williams College Museum of Art, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College, the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives at Williams College, the Williams College Lecture Committee, the Chaplains’ Office at Williams College, the Williams College Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, the Williams College Program in Latina/o Studies, and Williams College, and Patti, Frank, and Johanna Kolodny.