It’s not often that the sweet tooth bites back, but that’s the premise behind the LA art installation Break Bread. Until mid-March, the Think Tank gallery space will host the installation’s fanged cake sculptures, urban memorial shrines, and more. Collectively, the pieces speak barbed volumes regarding consumerism, artifice, and the primitive urges that drive them.
Sweetness and Predation at a Provoking LA Art Installation
Los Angeles has no shortage of art galleries and creative events, but Break Bread still manages to stand above. Like any respectable LA art installation, it’s housed in a nondescript building in a similarly quotidian area of downtown. Past the entrance, the landing room houses a distantly erotic scene: a four-poster bed crowned with flowers, bathed in the pink neon of the Break Bread Logo. The room thoughtfully breaks the installation into two halves: the lavishly decorated cake galleries and installations through the doorways on the right, and the shadowy mirror maze through the left.
Getting Lost in the Thought
The first gallery is suffused in an incense-like blue hue, with the solemn air of a child’s mausoleum. In one corner is a life-sized ice cream truck with a painstakingly illustrated menu of rocket pops, ice cream bars, etc. In the other corner stands a basketball hoop before a chainlink fence, with plush animals and stark portraits of pop culture icons festooning it. You’re reminded of an urban shrine for the deceased, the kind you see on neighborhood sidewalks, resplendent with candles and offerings. In that respect, this LA art installation shows off a distinctly Angeleno aesthetic in this memorial to childhood.
The other room houses the installation’s gorgeous cake sculptures and other pieces. The most eye-catching are the wall-mounted cakes exaggerated to resemble big game trophies. Beneath the ornamental icing and fruit fringes, the cakes boast toothy taxidermy maws poised to strike. The detail makes the viewer feel simultaneously endangered by the lurking beast, and fascinated by the beautiful confections adorning it.
The installation’s other half is drastically different; the entrance is marked by a single cake sculpture of a darkened mansion. This is the entrance to the underbelly of animalistic intent lurking beneath the glitzy plumage of the installation’s first part. Past the cake mansion, you’ll find yourself in a small prison cell decorated with bleached white bones and the sound of radio static.
And beyond that lies a mirror maze with tropical details throughout. Here, reflections and notions of identity and intent rebound and entangle with one another. One exit leads to a cubical space where two opposing mirrors reflect the viewer into infinity. The third wall projects scenes of rainfall and fire in contradictory alternation. The other exit leads you through a dimly lit boutique with ceiling disco balls and cake-and-foliage chandeliers.
The mirror maze and boutique exit back into the landing room with the four-poster bed. Yes, the two halves of the installation coincide in the bedroom, suggesting that the diammetrically opposed forces of artifice and natural savagery find simultaneous expression in sexuality and intimacy.
Much Thanks to Think Tank
Break Bread occupies the Think Tank gallery space in downtown LA. The artists behind Break Bread are Banksy collaborator Scott Hove and CalArts illustration graduate Keith Magruder, aka Baker’s Son. Hove is currently continuing his Cakeland project, challenging “society’s notions of comfort, pleasure, celebration and their dark counterparts.” Magruder’s works in turn offer “an artistic commentary on the socio-political aspects of food and the relationship that people and cultures around the world share with it.”
Break Bread is accessible, and free to visit daily from 11am to 5pm, except Wednesdays (and with RSVP). In the evenings, the space hosts special ticketed events. These range from culinary experiences, to poetry readings, and theatrical performances. It’s certainly one of the more engrossing LA art installations in recent memory, and at the price of absolutely free, it’s an experience that can’t be beat.
All photos taken with the Fujifilm XM1.