Many food devotees would agree cooking a meal is similar to producing a work of fine art. Whether one is coloring by numbers from cookbook recipes or tossing everything into the pot Jackson Pollock-style, the creativity and vision required to make a meal makes artists of us all.
Few foods are as tied to this notion as pizza. Dough is the inviting (and delicious) canvas awaiting the vibrant colors and textures of eye-pleasing toppings.
Pizza as art isn’t just a metaphor, either; last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization officially recognized the food as an art form. According to UNESCO, the high school kid draping your pie with pepperoni and mushrooms at Domino’s is like Van Gogh since pizza-making is a part of the “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.”
This sentiment is shared by the organizers of “In Pizza We Crust,” a pizza-themed art show opening Friday, August 10 at Insomnia Gallery. A $5 entry fee covers admission to the viewing, free craft beer, and—heck yeah—free slices of pizza.
“The lovely folks at Eureka Heights are kind enough to provide the beverage for the show. But as for the pizza sponsor, we’d like for them to remain a mystery at the moment. The more surprises, the better!” teased Jordan Asinas, the show’s curator. “But they are a well-known, beloved local pizzeria.”
Asinas said more than two dozen local artists will be showing pizza-inspired work (note: not actual pizza). He and show co-curators Mike Esco and Julie Julez worked together with Insomnia Gallery owner Chris Unclebach to sift through dozens of submissions to piece the exhibition together.
Expect Houston’s boldest artists (ones to watch include Bittertooth, Honeybones, Lauren Rubin, and Brandon Bishop) to bring extra sauce to pizza art, speaking to the day’s issues. Politics, religion, gender—nothing is off-limits, including one particularly divisive subject broached by Asinas.
“Man, this might cause some controversy, but I’m totally for having pineapple on my pizza,” he laughed. “Hawaiian is my go-to pizza order; add jalapeños for an extra kick! It’s a divided world out there, but I feel like I’m on the right side of this one.”
There seems to be a trend unfurling at Insomnia Gallery. The space recently hosted a pop-up event dubbed “Margarita Midnight Market," featuring boozy tequila concoctions alongside local art for sale. Asinas said this isn’t coincidental; the recent food and art pairings are designed to enhance art appreciation and bring in new faces. Maybe, to paraphrase an old adage, the way to someone’s art is through their stomach.
“Essentially, this is an art show disguised as a pizza party,” Asinas admitted. “We want attendees of the event to have a fun time while being surrounded by pizza-themed pieces from talented locals. We feel that a laid-back atmosphere could ease a lot of people into embracing art. I mean, how else could you elevate the experience of viewing art? By having a slice of pizza in your hand.”