Art or exploitation? ‘Food Stamp Table’ listed for $12K at Miami’s Art Basel weekend

art basel

Over the weekend, Miami played host to the annual Art Basel shows. Miami’s Art Basel weekend is a gathering of art world professionals and aficionados who gather to check out the latest and greatest in both modern and contemporary art. Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland, also serve as host cities.

One of the more peculiar works exhibited was a piece called “Food Stamp Table” by artist Meg Webster.

As you can see in the photo above, the piece consists of a stalk of broccoli, a single egg, a pack of Ramen noodles, and a can of Campbell soup sitting on a table. In total, the items price out at just under $5.

Also as part of the exhibit, a piece of paper is taped to the wall next to the food items on the table. It reads:

On November 1, 2013, the 2009 Recovery Act’s boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits ended, resulting in cuts to every SNAP household. It’s the equivalent of taking away 21 meals per month.”

While it is certain that Webster’s piece is meant to make a bold statement about the struggle that some families face in putting food on the table, one has to wonder if the irony of her pricing the piece at $12,000 doesn’t strike her or any potential buyers as ironic.

-tj armour / @tjarmour

TJ Armour
TJ Armour

"I'm not a biter, I'm a writer for myself and others."

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