All about the McDonald’s Pickle art installation

All about the McDonald’s Pickle art installation

Photography-Illustration: The Cut; Photo: Getty Images

Art is everywhere. It’s in the way Chris Pine wears a caftan, the flick of Katy Perry’s wrist as she throws slices of pizza in a Las Vegas nightclub. Art is movement and expression, creativity and inspiration. It’s poetry, music, movies and, yes, even pickles. Ladies and gentlemen, she:

This is Pickles, an installation recently shown at New Zealand’s Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland. Artist Matthew Griffin created the piece by peeling a single pickle off a McDonald’s cheeseburger and throwing it onto the gallery’s roof. Griffin’s self-described “sculpture” was on display throughout July, meaning the pickle remained stuck to the ceiling, using only leftover ketchup and unlimited burger juices as glue, for an entire month. Awesome. I love the artistic pickle.

As usual with any gallery artwork, PicklesIts nameplate lists the materials used to create the piece. While only the pickle is on display, the sign included all the ingredients of a McDonald’s cheeseburger (bun, beef patty, cheese, ketchup, etc.) as well as the ingredients used to make each ingredient (wheat flour, canola oil, raising agent , emulsifiers, the ominous “cheese taste”). This should be common for all works of art. The end credits of each film should list all food provided by craft services. Each song must note the number of cigarettes smoked while writing each track. What goes into creating a work of art, even if it is not visible in the final product, is also part of the art. Schrödinger’s Burgers.

Now, before I talk about how much Pickles it was on sale for — yes, apparently it was available for purchase — you have to promise me you’ll be cool. I won’t hear any whining or ranting about the monetary value of pickled art. Do we have a deal? Okay, Pickles it was priced at $10,000 NZD ($6,275 USD). Hey, you promised me you’d be cool! Also, anyone buying the facility would have to pay an extra $4.44 NZD for a McDonald’s cheeseburger because, per The Guardian, “the institution or the collector who owns it will be given instructions on how to recreate the art in their own space.” So you’d essentially be paying NZD$10,004.44 to remove a pickle from a McDonald’s burger and stick it on the ceiling of your choice. Dinner and show! It is unclear if anyone purchased the artwork.

Pickles it’s been described by critics as a “provocative gesture” and I agree, as pickles are inherently provocative. Reminiscent of other food-related art, such as the now infamous banana stuck to a wall or pornographic film Cake ovens. (Here follows a musical thesis on the subject Cake ovens, if you’re not familiar.) What I love most about the art pickle is that it opens the door for other mundane habits to be considered art. The pile of dust and dog fur under my TV stand is not dirt. it is a commentary on the cultural understanding of cleanliness. Leaving my car idling for too long is not irresponsible. it’s performance art, and pumping gas is camp. Kiwis call McDonald’s “Macca”, which is—say it with me—art. You’ve read over 500 words on a pickle stuck to the ceiling, making you an arts supporter.

As art begets art, I have written a poem in honor of the pickle of art. It’s best enjoyed while you’re juicing some gherkins on the wall. Good appetite.

That’s all I have to say
I have eaten
the art pickle
this was on
the roof of the art gallery

And which
you probably
$10,000 New Zealand dollars

Forgive me
It was delicious
Haha, jk
It was a pickle of months.
It tasted so, so bad.

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