Chicken sandwich art? Popeyes “The Sandwich” takes over Art Basel


Art is in the eye of the beholder. Popeyes “The Sandwich” ponders the difficult question, is the chicken sandwich a work of art?

Art Basel, the annual celebration of arts and culture in Miami, has created quite a stir this year. Food has transcended the sustenance on a person’s plate and become an artistic expression. Combining one of the biggest pop culture stories of the year with the art world, Popeyes offers “The Sandwich.”

What do you consider art? While many people hold varying opinions on what is and what is not art, one underlying idea always rings true. Art causes a reaction. Good, or bad, art is never intended to just exist without having an impact.

As seen at this year’s Art Basel, the concept of what is or what could be art is causing many heated discussions. After the selling of the banana art installation and subsequent banana eating performance art, the concept of food installation as art is becoming a new form of expression. Enter “The Sandwich.”

Popeyes partnered with San Paul Gallery Urban Art to display “The Sandwich.” This mixed media art consists of “toasted brioche bun, two pickles, fried chicken, mayo, and duct tape on canvas.” It is duct-taped to a canvas.

The Sandwich, art installation benefiting Popeyes Foundation

“The Sandwich” is listed at $120,003.99 and there is an interested buyer. While this dollar figure might be high, “the profits from the sale will go directly to the POPEYES® Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps communities with food and support in times of need.”

There are many aspects to this art installation. Most importantly, it is an entertaining way to raise money and awareness for the Popeyes Foundation. If a duct-taped chicken sandwich brings value to communities in need, there should be more chicken sandwich art.

Second, it could be the “jumping the shark” of the chicken sandwich wars. In a way, chicken sandwiches were one of the biggest food stories of 2019. From shortages to fights, maybe by putting this one up for display, everyone can start to calm down. In the end, it is a chicken sandwich, not the holy grail.

Lastly, food as art isn’t a foreign concept. While duct-taping food to canvas might be a newer concept, there are many occasions where food and art blend. From the old school still life paintings to the impeccable plates at Michelin Star restaurants, the idea of food as art is always present.

Is “The Sandwich” really art? That idea will be debated and probably laughed at for the next news cycle.

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What do you think of the chicken sandwich art? Has the chicken sandwich hype finally reached a tipping point?