Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories
The American artist Doug Aitken recently unveiled his latest, highly Instagrammable work in Switzerland – a ranch-style house clad entirely in mirrors, nestled in the mountains above Gstaad. Aitken’s passion for the Alps stretches beyond their stunning scenery, it turns out: he is just as enamoured with that most emblematic of Swiss culinary classics: cheese fondue.
‘I like performance and action foods, with highs and lows, and brief moments where it all comes together,’ the artist tells Wallpaper, the latest issue of which boasts Aitken’s recipe for the dish. Featuring eye-watering quantities of cheese (8oz of Emmental and a pound of Gruyère) and a healthy splash of alcohol (dry white wine and kirsch), it is not a meal for the faint hearted.
If that whets your appetite for more artist-endorsed grub, then there are plenty of other options on the table. For a healthy choice, there are the vegetarian recipes offered up by the in-house canteen at Olafur Eliasson’s studio in Berlin. Those on a budget could do worse than that thrifty classic beloved, so Michael Wishart recalls, of Francis Bacon: spaghetti with garlic and walnuts. And if it’s pure inedible you’re after, Rakewell heartily endorses both Filippo Marinetti’s La Cucina Futurista (1932) and Salvador Dalí’s cookbook, Les Dîners de Gala (1973).
More practical, relatively speaking, is Natalie Eve Garrett’s The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook (2016), which features intriguing culinary suggestions from top-flight contemporary artists. Highlights include Ed Ruscha’s Southwestern omelette (topped with diced cactus ‘to make sad or funny faces’) and the allium-heavy take on scrambled eggs that Rachel Feinstein cooks up for John Currin. More esoteric entirely are a number of recipes for aphrodisiacs penned by Marina Abramović, the simplest of which she calls an ‘essence drink’: ‘Mix fresh breast milk with fresh sperm milk, drink on earthquake nights.’ Erm, I’m fine with a glass of water, Marina…