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Guest Writer

Feeding off of art
by Tania Rain

Ever been to an opening reception at an art gallery or museum and noticed how everyone hovers over the food and wine?

The food always appears to win the popularity contest, especially when it is good. Most galleries seem to have the same old thing: salami, cheese, crackers, grapes, something pickled, juice, wine, and if we're lucky -- beer! But if the gallery is aware of the impression the food has on its clients, it will usually include something unique and incredible.

Last month I attended an opening at the L&B Viewing Room at 1714 NW Overton in Portland. The food was exquisite. It included shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce, melon balls wrapped with prosciutto, several east-India-style hors d'oeuvres, and my favorite -- steamed and chilled artichokes with an Italian dipping sauce. The food had class and was replenished constantly. Well, it had to be at the rate it was being consumed.

Even the presentation of the food was phenomenal. It took on its own artistic appearance by being placed on a wall display meant for sculptures or pottery. The display layered at the chest and waist level down a narrow hallway. There were no plates, napkins or utensils to complement the food and there was only one trash can at the end of the hallway. Drinks were served in a different room.

Now, I know I was there to see the art. But the food is as big a part of the experience. So, I was there in this hall with 20 other people, lined up like cattle feeding from troughs. I had to wade through the line of people just to throw away my trash. Then when I got thirsty, I had to go to another room. I was so exhausted after the trouble of eating and drinking, I didn't even care to take a good look at the work.

My suggestion: next time you go to an opening, eat beforehand. First of all, you never know what kind of food there will be. Second, the opening is in honor of the artist -- not the food!

See more from Tania in our archives.

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