Jason Hedges: Hog Roast
Hog roast dry run for “Lamb” (2008)
Last night the quiet patience of a privileged few was rewarded by Jason Hedges, a Miami based artist whose work centers primarily around food. In preparation for his exhibition at Locust Projects this coming Saturday, Hedges, much to the satisfaction of those who lasted through the rains, de-bugged the ancient practice of spit-roasting by preparing a whole suckling pig ($65 from Penn-Dutch). A veteran chef but until last night a virgin to this specific process, the artist whose previous works and performances include the ‘Vertical Triple Chamber Smoker’ and ‘Left Wing Right Wing Chicken Wing’ steadied himself on the deck of open-fire-meat-fests apparently for the sole purpose of ironing out the kinks – any excuse right!
Jason Hedges with hog.
Hedges, who often comes across as a strange mix of period re-enactor, celebrity chef and mad scientist all rolled into one, hosted the evening at the ‘palm lot’ in Miami’s Design District directly opposite the studios that he shares with fellow artists Bhakti Baxter, COOPER, Jay Hinds, Nick Lobo, Martin Oppel and Tao Ray. All those attending the somewhat impromptu event brought something to the table: From Nektar De Stagni’s awesome tofu concoctions to a furious yet regimented shift rotation of wood choppers, nothing was forgotten or neglected – not least the meat which sizzled seductively under Hedges’ tender gaze.
Honorary wood choppers: Kevin Arrow. Thomas Hollingworth. Giancarlo Sardone and Mark Beverley. Mateo Kruse, Jay Hinds and Mark Beverly.
Often bathed in a plume of fragrant smoke and turned a quarter rotation at a time the pig’s appearance changed slowly from grotesque human-like forms to equally grotesque (yet ultimately more delicious) contortions of near-unrecognizable seared appendages – the tail, and in particular the tongue, hardened and curled exaggeratedly as the cooking progressed. As always, the experience of actually watching food cook as opposed to it being locked up in a box was a delicious if not wholly trying event.
After much deliberation and cogitation we moved finally to the all important digestion. At 11:50pm the beast was pulled from the flames and stood to rest for a further agonizing 30 minutes. Then, after being laid on a mammoth cutting board and deftly hacked into three distinct regions, a swarm of impetuous hands descended upon the carcass in a manner befitting the climax of Patrick Suskind’s ‘Perfume’. The fevered action of this feeding frenzy, characterized by sounds of lip smacking, skin crunching, finger sucking and low guttural moans, reduced the animal to a near unidentifiable pile of gristle within just a few minutes. In the aftermath, amidst burps and chants of “the bomb” and “the shit” a satisfied gaggle of artlings slowly ebbed from the scene of the crime.
For the forthcoming exhibition at Locust Projects, Hedges will perform his piece “Lamb”, a giant eighteen foot long modular spit triptych consisting of no less than 3 whole lambs . The lambs, purchased again from Penn-Dutch, will begin slow cooking around noon for an anticipated carving by around 10pm. The point, to facilitate Hedges’ understanding and communication of primitive cooking methods, human history and all that good stuff.
Come see (and eat) “Lamb” @ Locust Projects, Saturday 12th July, 2008. 7-11pm.
Hog roast photo wall, from left to right: Thomas Hollingworth and hog. Naomi Fisher and Jim Drain. Hog. Tao Rey and Ruba Katrib. Hog. Bhakti Baxter. Hog. Daniel Newman. Hog. Samuel Borkson. Hog. Scott Murray. Nektar De Stagni. Hog. Martin Oppel. Hog. Jay Hinds. Hog.
For more information on this artist please visit: www.jasonhedges.org