He’s injected pasta with heroin and let goats loose in a gallery. Now Darren Bader is getting visitors to spend a day turning food on plinths into tasty salad. We try to find out why
Before answering my questions about Fruits, Vegetables; Fruit and Vegetable Salad – his new exhibition opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art – New York-based artist Darren Bader says that he has a specific (read: irreverent) style and he hopes it’s not too much of an annoyance. I tell him it’s not an annoyance at all and start with an easy one: Where do you get your ideas? “Oh, you know, the magical world of ideas,” he replies.
His exhibition, which takes place on the eighth floor of the Whitney, comprises a previously untitled work that the museum acquired in 2015 but has never displayed until now. When viewers emerge from the lift on the eighth floor, they will discover a cornucopia of fresh fruit and vegetables, each variety presented as a sculpture on its own wooden plinth. Four times a week, museum staff will collect the ripened fruit and vegetables and – according to Bader’s instructions – make a salad. The slicing and dicing will be captured on film and projected in the empty gallery, after which the salad will be served to viewers. Staff will then replenish the plinths with fresh produce, and so the process will continue.