Book Projects

Hungry Eyes:

Picturing Foodways and Indigeneity in

Post-revolutionary

Mexico City 

This single-authored monograph (under contract, University of Texas Press) traces the shifting relationships between art and food during a period of rampant modernization, in which the rise of modern cookery through electrical appliances and industrial foodstuffs converged and clashed with the nation’s growing nostalgia for its pre-Columbian heritage. The book focuses on three case studies of artistic production and alimentary consumption—Tina Modotti and pulque, Carlos E. González and mole poblano, and Rufino Tamayo and watermelon—that highlight the various ways in which artistic renderings of food were used to frame indigenous culture as both the foundation of and a threat to the modern state. Each case study engages the convergence of racial imaginaries, artistic production, and foodways to show how conflictive attitudes toward indigenous heritage and bodies were made manifest through images of and about food and foodways. Therefore, this book examines how seemingly innocuous images of foodstuffs and consumption became implicated in a broader visual, experiential, and commercial battle over the definition of nationalist attitudes toward class, gender, and indigeneity.

 

To date, this book has been supported by funding from The College of Fine Arts and The Graduate School of Florida State University and the American Antiquarian Society. In addition, this book is supported by a 2019/2020 Tyson Scholars Fellowship at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; a 2019/2020 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment; a 2020/2021 Alumni College Humanities Center Fellowship and a 2022 Faculty Fellowship from the Humanities Center, Texas Tech University; and the 2021 William R. Levin Award for Research in the History of Art, since 1750, from the Southeastern College Art Conference. 

Nourish and Resist:
Food and Feminisms in contemporary global Caribbean art

This edited volume (co-edited by Hannah Ryan and Lesley A. Wolff), builds upon the famous words of poet Derek Walcott, who said of the Caribbean, “Antillean art is this restoration of our shattered histories, our shards of vocabulary, our archipelago becoming a synonym for pieces broken off from the original continent.” Through what began as a College Art Association session and has now grown into an edited volume, we consider how the Caribbean’s shattered histories and shards of vocabulary can be aggregated through the common language of food. From sugar to coffee, artists evoke what we consume through embodied, performative, material, and visual means. We seek to not only evoke Walcott’s words, but also to hone them through the lens of gender, and the gendered performativity of food. Moreover, this volume seeks to concentrically expand our archipelagic vision beyond the Antilles proper, to account for the understudied geopolitical and artistic threads with which the Antilles have long been entangled. Timely and critically vibrant, this book features eight scholarly essays, two interviews, and three photo essays by an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars, curators, and artists. 

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Select Publications

Wolff, Lesley A. 2022. Review of A Revolution in Movement: Dancers, Painters, and the Image of Modern MexicoLatin American and Latinx 

Visual Culture 4, no. 1: 152-154. Book review. 

Wolff, Lesley A. 2021. "Café Culture as Decolonial Feminist Praxis: Scherezade García's Blame...Coffee.Humanities 10, no. 1 (Special Issue on Gender, Race, and Material Culture): 1-19.  

Carrasco, Michael D., Lesley A. Wolff, and Paul Niell. 2020. “Curating the Caribbean: Unsettling the Boundaries of Art and Artefact.” International Journal of Heritage Studies: 1-17.  

Wolff, Lesley A. 2020. “Mister Watermelon/Señor Sandía: Fruitful Anxieties in Rufino Tamayo's Naturaleza muerta (1954).” Vistas: Critical Approaches to Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art (Super/Natural: Excess, Ecologies, and Art in the Americas) 4: 29-44.  

Wolff, Lesley A. 2019. “Visualizing the Plate: Reading Modernist Mexican Cuisine Through Colonial Botany.” The Recipes Project. Website. 

Wolff, Lesley A. 2019. “From Raw to Refined: Edouard Duval-Carrié’s Sugar Conventions (2013).” African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 12, no. 3 (Special Issue on Creolization and Trans Atlantic Blackness: The Visual and Material Cultures of Slavery): 355-374. 

Wolff, Lesley A. 2019. "A Chronology of the Life and Art of Ralph Norton (1875-1953)." In Ralph Norton and His Museum, by Ellen E. Roberts with contributions by Lesley A. Wolff, 208-242. West Palm Beach, FL: Norton Museum of Art. 

Wolff, Lesley A. 2018. “Visualizing Mole Poblano as Heritage Process in Café de Tacuba.” Food, Culture & Society 21, no .5 (Special Issue, Mole Poblano: New Approaches to Mexico's National Dish): 618-636. 

Wolff, Lesley A., Michael D. Carrasco and Paul B. Niell. 2018. “Rituals of Refinement: Edouard Duval-Carrié's Historical Pursuits.” In Decolonizing Refinement: Contemporary Pursuits in the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié. Exhibition catalogue. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press in association with University Press of Florida, 12 - 25. 

Wolff, Lesley A. 2018. “It's All Happening in the Margins: An Interview with Edouard Duval-Carrié." In Decolonizing Refinement: Contemporary Pursuits in the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié. Exhibition catalogue. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press in association with University Press of Florida, 56 - 61. 

Wolff, Lesley A. 2016. “Nursing the Nation: Postrevolutionary Mexican Consciousness and Consumption in Tina Modotti’s Baby Nursing.” Athanor XXXIV. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 85-92.