When it comes to presentation, the average Thanksgiving spread looks artful for about five minutes. Then the carving knives come out, the sweet potatoes are pillaged and the gravy and cranberry sauce become a big soupy glop on everybody’s plate. It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s certainly delicious. For an unexpectedly artistic look at the Thanksgiving meal, San Francisco-based artist Hannah Rothstein has created “Thanksgiving Special,” a series of plated dinners modeled on the styles of famous artists. Now turkey, stuffing, green beans, corn, turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, and mashed potatoes resemble the work of Picasso, Magritte, and Van Gogh.
Rothstein’s original idea was to illustrate different artists’ brushstrokes, but “I quickly realized this idea would be radically boring,” she said. So she gave the project a quirky, humorous turn. All of the food used was canned–“but only so I didn’t feel tempted to eat it all before finishing the photos,” she said. “When eating and not ‘art-ing,’ I’m big into ‘from scratch’ and cooking.”
Rothstein’s favorite photograph in the series is the Cindy Sherman-based Thanksgiving, which true to the artist’s penchant for the unexpected, doesn’t involve a plate at all. “It was ridiculously fun to prepare,” said Rothstein. “I had a hard time not laughing the food off my face.”
See all 10 at her website and if you purchase a print, all proceeds will go to the SF-Marin Food Bank to help those in need have a proper, if less artistic, Thanksgiving meal.JM