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Interpreting the Work of Sandy Skoglund:
Food as an Art Medium
Department of Art Education
Ohio State University and
Getty Center for Education in the Arts
The Cocktail Party
In The Cocktail Party, Skoglund covers the walls, floors, furniture, six
mannequins, and clothing for four humans with Cheez Doodles.
Why are Cheez Doodles an appropriate choice for this image?
Cheez Doodles have an obvious connection with the subject matter in
The Cocktail Party, but at the same time they are not exactly right.
Cheese cubes on toothpicks, cheese balls, or wedges of cheese for
crackers and breads would be more fitting for a cocktail party. Cheez
Doodles are usually eaten at informal occasions--television viewing,
school lunches, or children's parties. How does Skoglund's choice of
Cheez Doodles affect the meaning of The Cocktail Party?
If Cheez Doodles are inappropriate for a cocktail party, other
associations may be quite fitting. The substance of both the snack food
and cocktail party conversations might be empty, devoid of real
nourishment, and composed of artificial ingredients.
Are Cheez Doodles similar in any way to traditional art media? How are
they different from traditional art media?
What art form does Skoglund simulate with the Cheez Doodles?
Skoglund's process of hot-gluing individual Cheez Doodles to blanket the
entire installation somewhat resembles the Roman and Byzantine mosaic
processes, which entail setting small cubes of stone, marble, glass or
ceramic known as "tesserae" into mortar. However, since each Cheez
Doodles is nearly identical, Skoglund's process may relate more to tiling a
bathroom than creating a mosaic.
Consider the practical problems that Cheez Doodles as a medium present
to an artist.
Imagine you had to cover clothing, walls, furniture, glasses, and the floor
with thousands of Cheez Doodles.
How would you attach them?
How would you arrange them on the various surfaces?
How much time would it take you?
What if you, like Sandy Skoglund, had to ship the entire installation from
New York City to the Ulrich Museum in Wichita, Kansas?
Skoglund's experience working with Cheez Doodles
Skoglund and her assistants attached the Cheez Doodles using hot-glue
guns. She said that the heat on the Cheez Doodles from the glue guns
produced a very strong distinct smell, which was "a little overwhelming
and disgusting to work with."