The Jew And The Carrot

Food Art: Oreo Cameos

By Penina Yaffa Kessler

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Oreos became kosher in 1997 much to the delight of the Jewish world. Now the Jewish love affair with the cookie has been immortalized in art.

Artist Judith Klausner, profiled this week in the Forward, professes to “enjoy playing with food, both recreationally and professionally.” Her recent series “From Scratch” attempts to illustrate how modern women have choices previously unavailable to them — through Oreo Cameos and embroidered breakfast foods. Her latest project was in part inspired by how the relationship between women and food has changed over the past two centuries.

“The inspiration for the entire From-Scratch series came from a terrible pun in my head,” she says. “I was looking at a package of food with the Kraft logo on it and thought, ‘Huh, I wonder if I could do crafts with Kraft?’”

Carving a cameo is no easy feat, even with Klausner’s medium of choice, the classic and malleable Oreo cookie from Nabisco, her creations take anywhere three to six hours to complete.

“I use toothpicks for the cameos, as well as flat-head pins and a sculpture tool,” each for a different effect she says. The piece of toast embroidered with a fried egg was also a labor-intensive project, taking almost thirty hours to complete.

Finding the right Oreo to work with, she admits, is tricky. “I prefer the classic Oreo – regular cream, chocolate cookie, clean contrast. Many of the non-original crème flavors can’t take the detail for one reason or other… I have to admit, I’ve never tried double-stuff!”

Although being cooped up for long periods of time with cookies and breakfast foods would be enticing to some, Klausner says she’s never been tempted to eat any of her work. “I think it would cause me even more frustration after all of the work that goes into each one, and besides they are very stale by now! Keeping my boyfriend out of my art supplies is another matter however.” She professes to occasionally becoming so engrossed in her work that she forgets to eat, which she says is a rare occurrence in her life.

Judith Klausner has shown recently at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. View more of her work here.


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