Stomach-churning leftovers: CSU Galleries presents Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold, an exhibition of 100 works by Shelly Brenner Baird, can be seen through October.

Best Served Cold exhibit. Photo by Molly Bregar

Spine-tingling, intriguing, and almost even humorous- the Galleries at Cleveland State University is serving up some leftovers gruesome enough to turn a viewer’s stomach.

On display now, through Oct. 30, is Best Served Cold by Shelly Brenner Baird. This hard-to-believe exhibit features works of photography and screen print. Each work includes a photographed arrangement of food, but here’s the catch: displayed alongside it is a screen-printed newspaper headline of the murder that corresponds.

One might wonder what could be the connection between these two different factors. Is it human nature to fight for food? A survival instinct? Or does it in some odd way lend itself to violence? Regardless of the connection, the sheer number of true stories that this exhibit presents is astonishing. With over a hundred unique pieces in this collection, the themes range from murder over food to murder by food.

Kiwi and Reese’ cup themed pieces. Photos by Molly Bregar

Both the kiwi story and the one about the Reese’s cup, pictured above, are prime examples of those themes. But Baird doesn’t stop at just food, beverages are included too. One might believe the occasional beer brawl, but this exhibit even covers murder over coffee and poisoned milk.

The exhibit also features beverages, like this coffee and milk. Photos by Molly Bregar

A piece that stands out from the photographed foods and beverages is a work that features an image of a smartphone screen. While different in terms of the image presented, the piece itself still very much concerns food, telling the story of a woman who fatally forgot to cook lunch because of a social media addiction.

Social Media Addiction. Photo by Molly Bregar

Whatever your interpretation of the exhibit is, Best Served Cold is truly a one of a kind. Stop by any day Tuesday through Saturday between noon and five o’clock pm. The Galleries at Cleveland State University can be found at 1307 Euclid Ave, and the exhibit is free for the public to view.

For some extra insight on the exhibit, join Baird for an artist talk on Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. More information is available here.

“Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity,” quote by Johnathan Safran Foer. Photo by Molly Bregar

Author: Trinity Stevens

Trinity Stevens is a current student at Cleveland State University majoring in Dance in Community, minoring in Theatre Studies, and pursuing a certificate in Arts Management.

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