For Genealogy of the Supermarket, the contemporary artist, Nina Katchadourian, has created an elaborate and colorful family tree using recognizable, human advertising icons found on packages lining the shelves of the average American grocery store. This essay describes the artwork generally and in some selective detail. Katchadourian's family tree is appreciated for its ability to draw in the viewer with familiar, friendly icons like Aunt Jemima, Mr. Clean and the Jolly Green Giant. Yet, viewers are enabled to see the icons——and the supermarket culture in which many of us interact regularly——in a new light and with unexpected clarity. How does ““personality advertising”” influence how we relate to products and our experience at the supermarket?
Nina Katchadourian's Genealogy of the Supermarket
cory bernat studies and teaches food culture and visual culture. Most recently she has written about the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. She is currently curating an exhibit of food and agriculture posters from World Wars I and II at the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville, Maryland. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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cory bernat; Nina Katchadourian's Genealogy of the Supermarket. Gastronomica 1 November 2008; 8 (4): 7–9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2008.8.4.7
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