The avocado. A prehistoric, one-seeded berry named for its resemblance to testicles. Once a rare luxury, consumption has grown nearly 200 percent in the past decade - Los Angeles alone eats more than 3 million a year. And there are few foods that are as thoughtfully fetishized and thoroughly hash-tagged as the avocado.
So what is it about this homely Mexican import that has our culture by the balls? Desired explores the secret life of today’s it-fruit, investigating how the avocado’s rise to celebrity is representative of a culture where just about anything can achieve cult status. The exhibition visualizes the construction of fetish and physicalizes the fruit’s rise to a larger than life cultural icon, confronting what it means to be desired.
It has long been routine to fetishize engineered luxury items such as a sleek car, a new piece of technology or high-end fashion. As if on a parallel path and in a relatively short time, certain foods - grown from the earth and picked from trees - have reached equally crafted levels of marketing, desire and status. While wines, cheeses and chocolates immediately come to mind, a number of other items have more sneakily produced massive waves across the socioeconomic landscape of food. This installation focuses one such item: the avocado. From its bizarre history and early lack of acceptance it has emerged as an edible powerhouse that can lift a piece of toast to the top of a trending cycle and transform a restaurant to “hip” with a single menu item. To what ends will we go to make our food competitive? We can go much further and in doing so, go too far past the line where the presentation of an edible item is about being delicious to a place of fetishistic obsession and power.