Chinese Cooking the American Way is a series of printed collage works on fabric that look at a specific slice of North American cooking culture: Chinese cookbooks printed for Western audiences in the second half of the twentieth century.
The project’s first installment is a large tent and lounge area designed for the first Happy Family Night Market in Bushwick. The tent’s exterior, interior, and the beanbags inside will be printed with collages, encouraging visitors to think about how cookbooks provide us with many different entry points into food and culture.
The images and texts are drawn from vintage cookbooks published between the early 1960s and the late 1980s, partly drawn from my family’s collection. Some are part of the era’s marketing of exotic cuisines (from the 1963 Meals with an Oriental Flair: “a breeze to eat with chopsticks, if have the yen!”), while others, like the 1968 Cooking of China, take a more educational look at the ingredients, traditions, and festivals of “the world’s oldest civilization.”
Alison Kuo makes art that examines power and class dynamics through the language of food. Her participatory performances invite her audience to collaborate, and to eat, within the framework of an installation. Her photographs and videos remix coded representations of food from advertising, cookbooks, and popular media. Curator Media Farzin is an art writer and educator based in New York.