Artist’s Palate: John Baldessari’s polenta, spinach, eggs and bacon

John Baldessari’s polenta, spinach, eggs and bacon
‘Crockery’ jug, £75, by Max Lamb, for 1882, from SCP. Silver plate, £105, by Zanetto, from Harlequin London. Spoon, £65 for six-piece cutlery set, from Native & Co. ‘Lucio’ fabric in Steel, £48 per m, by Anthology, for Harlequin.
(Image credit: John Short)

John Baldessari has long incorporated elements of consumption into his work. Sometimes this has manifested itself in a figurative sense, such as his early 1967 piece A Two-Dimensional Surface Without Any Articulation Is A Dead Experience, in which he allowed his words to be painted by sign-painters. Sometimes the artist has approached the idea in a literal way – perhaps best exemplified by his Cremation Project, in which he burnt all his paintings from 1953 to 1966 and baked the ashes into cookies, which were displayed with a recipe. This provocative display of metarealistic gastronomy has been toned down in Baldessari’s contribution to the Wallpaper* dining digest. His recipe is a homey amalgam of familiar tastes and textures, proving once again that, even at 85, Baldessari still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

3 tbs olive oil
2 rashers of bacon
3 eggs
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
A wedge of pre-cooked polenta

Heat a medium-sized, non-stick skillet over a medium flame. Add olive oil, and fry bacon till crisp. Set aside on kitchen paper. Next, using the same oil, fry the eggs till cooked to desired consistency. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot of boiling, salted water, cook spinach till just tender for a scant minute. Season to taste, and assemble.

As originally featured in the December issue of Wallpaper* (W*213)

Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.