ART MUST ASSUME THE FUNCTION OF THE POTATO
"Art must assume the function of the potato"
What does this mean?

Potatoes...

The phrase has a 3-pronged metaphorical explanation:

PART ONE: VERSATILE
Potatoes are a very functional food. You can do a lot with pototoes.
* French fries
* Potato salad
* Sweet Potato
* Potato Soup
* Potato Pancakes
* Potato Chips
* Potato Wraps
* Stuffed Potatoes
* Baked Potato
* Au Gratin Potatoes
* Irish Stew
* Shepherd's Pie
* Potato Vodka
* Mashed Potatoes
* Double-baked Potatoes (thanks Robert!)
* Scalloped Potatoes (thanks Maryam!)

* Mr. Potato Head
* Potato Cannons
* Spud Guns
* Potato Clock
* Potato Prints
* Potato Sack Races
* Hot Potato (the game)
* Potato Celebrities
* You say `potato,' I say `patata'
* Couch Potato
* Paint removing with potatoes

Potatoes come in brown, red, blue, purple, yellow
The potato was the first vegetable to be grown in space.

~CONCLUSION FROM PART ONE:
There's a lot you can do with potatoes. You should be able to do a lot with art. Art should be able to wear many hats and have many different meanings.

PART TWO: FOR ALL
Potatoes are very common worldwide.

Potatoes are grown in about 125 countries worldwide.
In the United States, potatoes are grown in all 50 states.

Potato is the fourth most important food crop in the world after wheat, rice, and maize. Potato production represents roughly half of the world's annual output of all roots and tubers.

Since the early 1960's, the percentage increase in area planted in developing countries has been higher than for any other major food crop.

Production increases have been second only to wheat.

More than a billion people worldwide eat potatoes. The crop also represents an important part of the diet of more than half a billion consumers in developing countries.

~CONCLUSION PART TWO:
Just about everyone in the world are familiar with potatoes. People all around the world understand potatoes. Art should be made so all different levels of people can understand art.

PART THREE: SURVIVAL
Potatoes, necessary for survival.

Parmentier helped King Louis XIV popularize the potato in France in the 18th century. Parmentier created a feast with only potato dishes, a concept he realized was possible while being imprisoned in Germany and fed only potatoes.

During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.

The average American eats 140 pounds of potatoes per year. Germans eat more than 200 pounds per year.

In 1770 a crop failure gave a war its name - "The Potato War" when a war between Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa forced soldiers to steal the enemy's potatoes as there was not much more food to eat. When the potatoes were finished, so did the war.

In 1845 and 1846 the potato crop in Ireland was devastated by fungus. The potato had become a major food to the Irish causing the "Irish Potato Famine" which cased many Irish to immigrate. The population of Ireland decreased by nearly two million between 1847 and 1851.

~CONCLUSTION PART THREE:
Potatoes throughout history have been necessary for survival and for people to live. Potatoes are throughly integrated in peoples lives. Just so should art be necessary for survival and life. And art should be integrated into people's lives.

IN CONCLUSION
Combining all points.
* versatile
* for all
* survival

"Art must assume the function of the potato"

Potatoes can speak to a large audience, art should be able to be versatile and speak to many different levels of audiences. An artwork should be able to communicate to the art theorist educated in the wide history of art, but also to the common person off the street with no knowledge of the art world.

Just as potatoes have a lot of possiblities with its different forms. Art should be able to inherently have many different meanings so any particular viewer can read whatever meaning they wish from the artwork. Each person brings their own bag of experience when viewing an artwork and it's good and rich when many different interpretations can be made from one piece.

Art should be treated as an essential part of people's lives to provide enrichment, confidence and self-reflection.

OTHER SIDE NOTES:
I also enjoy how some people associate the quote, "Art must assume the function of the potato" and spudart with children doing prints with potatoes. There's a simple, endearing quality that speaks to all levels of people.

It makes people feel comfortable and "down to earth". Hearing spudart, or my quote is kinda like an ice breaker. It's all funny and people laugh when they first hear it. They have memories of potato prints as a child. Or they think of couch potato, or the potato clock. And it gives them a sense of identity with what I'm talking about.

Once they feel comfortable, then I can ease in my theories on art and how it relates to potatoes.

READER COMMENTS:
Do you have any comments? Send 'em to: matt@spudart.org

whether all that about potatoes was bull or what... that took some imagination and time if it was... though some of it I know for sure is the real deal... speaking of potatoes... the potato pancakes over here are to die for... almost... with applesauce on them... f***, I just made myself hungry... you missed double baked potato in your list... something American that I miss a bit...
~Robert Frey

at first i was laughing quite the bit. then i realized you were serious...
art should be available to everyone and should also be in a form in which it can be interpreted and enjoyed by people of different cultures/ages/sexes...
concerning point #3 (survival) there was one experiment done where test subjects were fed nothing but potatoes for a period of (i think) a month and had no nutrient deficiencies(sp) at the end of that time period.
~Maryam

 

All questions and comments can be sent to: matt@spudart.org
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