Jun
24
2011

Andy Warhol Exhibit at Art Gallery of Alberta

The Art Gallery of Alberta is hosting the Andy Warhol exhibit, Manufactured, complete with a Warhol-inspired menu at Zinc, the gallery's restaurant.

Campbell’s soup cans, rows and rows of a neon Jackie O, random newspaper clippings and the predictable lineup of Fright Wig self-portraits are just a few of the 80 pieces in Edmonton’s Andy Warhol exhibit, Manufactured.

Andy Warhol on Display

On until Aug. 21, the Art Gallery of Alberta’s exhibit on Warhol is its only Canadian stop.

Direct from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, this broad sweep of art tells the tortured life of this ‘60s icon through not only his work, but the accompanying photographs, films and clippings that send you on a trajectory from his origins as a commercial artist to the pop art star he became.

It Started with a Can of Campbells Soup

Plenty of snippets in the 17-month-old gallery help to expand the pieces, beginning with the iconic Campbell Soup Can series

The story goes that back in the early ‘60s, art dealer, Muriel Latow, said to Warhol: “Give me $50 and I’ll tell you what to paint.” She then asked him: “What is your favourite thing?”

He said Campbell’s soup, “that’s what my mother makes me for lunch every day.”

And so he painted them, not from life but existing images such as magazine ads, a Warhol signature style that came to be associated with Pop Art in general.

It was his 1962 lineup of soup cans that became his breakthrough work that you can view at the AGA along with his silk-screened Marilyns and Liz Taylors and parts of his churlish Death and Disaster series.

Andy Warhol-Themed Menus at Zinc

As pedestrian as canned tomato soup was in the ‘60s, it’s even more so in today’s global, culinary marketplace.

Precisely why Executive Chef David Omar of the AGA’s Zinc resto (a Compass Group Canada property) decided to ride shotgun, piggybacking on some of Warhol’s themes.

Connecting Zinc’s summer menu with this exhibit, Omar and his team spent months sourcing, developing and creating four colour-coded, multi-course menus.

Using yellow, orange, red and green as their palettes, their hope is that a party of four will order a colour apiece and appreciate the elegance of four different shades of pepper soup, followed by four differently coloured tomato salads (green tomatoes were the toughest to find!), chicken dishes and desserts. Omar thinks the green lineup is the visual stunner but patrons are raving most about the yellow.

The Icing on the Tomato Soup Cake

Of course, Omar had to whip up something wacky using tomato soup although he confesses he detests all things artificial and didn’t use any fake enhancers to colour his four-plate wonders.

After flipping through old-school recipe books his compromise was to kick up a notch his grannie’s recipe of tomato soup cake by adding star anise and whipping cream, turning the concoction into cupcake charmers that also appear on this summer’s dessert menu.

Tomato Recipes to Try at Home

Chef Omar shared some of his tomato recipes just in case you can’t make it to Zinc or the AGA this summer:

Campbell's Tomato Soup Cake

  • 5 cup sugar
  • 2.5 cup butter
  • 285 ml Campbell's tomato soup
  • 5 tsp. baking soda
  • 5 tsp. cloves
  • 5 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 tsp. cinnamon
  • 10 tsp. baking powder
  • 5 tsp. salt
  • 10 cups flour
  • 2.5 cup raisins
  • 1.25 cup milk, add last

 

Directions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together
  2. Fold in tomato soup.
  3. Add all dry ingredients together and slowly add to butter mix
  4. Add raisins
  5. Slowly add milk to finish
  6. Pour mixture into cupcake tray

 

For about 60 cupcakes: Bake 10-15 minutes at 350°F
 

Tomato Whipped Cream

  • 500 ml heavy whipping
  • ¼ cup vanilla sugar
  • 85 ml can of tomato juice

 

Directions

  1. Whip cream and sugar until firm peaks
  2. Fold in tomato juice

 

Tomato Coulis

  • 500 ml water
  • 1 cup sugar                                                        
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 piece star anise

 

Directions

  1. Add star anise, sugar and water to a pot and simmer to make simple syrup (remove star anise)
  2. Cool and add tomato paste and ground cinnamon

 

To assemble these tasty wonders, slice the top and bottom off each cupcake and fill each layer with whipping cream. Then drizzle the coulis over each cupcake top.

Make a Donation

The AGA is collecting canned soup for the Food Bank in the lobby of the building and visitors are encouraged to bring a contribution when they visit the restaurant and the exhibit.

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Deb Cummings

Deb Cummings is the editor of up! magazine. She's a well-known travel writer and editor whose award-winning background includes working with the Calgary Herald, Sears Travel, tripeze.com and Travel Alberta, among other outlets. Deb previously spent a year "voluntouring" around the planet with her husband and two children.

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