Salty

Michelle Vaughan

Print

archival pigment inks on 100% cotton rag paper
8 x 10 inches
Edition: AP
Provenance: gift from the artist
Acquired: 2014

Description

During the fall and winter months, I return to Grand Central’s Oyster Bar for a stellar selection of North American oysters. It’s always packed and the wait staff is gruff, serving up incredible seafood in a time capsule of old New York. Mark Kurlansky’s book, The Big Oyster, notes that New York City, abundant with local oysters, built road foundations from shell middens. Today, groups like NY/NJ Baykeepers are working to grow new oyster beds obliterated long ago by dredging and pollution. Oysters, like wine, are defined by terroir: what you taste is a specific bay’s seawater. These prints use text to describe the action of eating. This series was handset from woodblock type on a vintage Vandercook letterpress at The Arm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a haven for this rapidly disappearing craft. The custom Verona pink-colored ink represents the interior of oyster shells. The Hamilton Gothic (also known as Franklin Gothic) type, from the 1920s, was originally owned by the Baltimore Police Department. It is a clean, honest face for everyday use. Oysters were once the everyman’s food, eaten by rich and poor alike—Gothic symbolizes this spirit.

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