6 of Our Favorite Hamburger-Themed Artworks for National Burger Day

Paul McCarthy's might make you queasy.

Walter Robinson, Friendly's Big Beef Burger (2012). Photo: Paddle8.

Grab a stack of napkins and get your ketchup bottles ready: it’s National Burger Day! If you’re active on Twitter, you may have noticed that the hashtag #NationalBurgerDay is trending, and while many culinary establishments are offering deals on double-decker stacks of juicy goodness, we’re inclined to celebrate in a slightly different way—with five of our favorite fine art burgers. Is it lunchtime yet?

Mike Bouchet, Square Tie Roll (2014). Photo: Courtesy Marlborough Chelsea.

Mike Bouchet, Square Tie Roll (2014).
Photo: Courtesy Marlborough Chelsea.

1. Mike Bouchet, whose paintings of hamburgers thrilled us at Marlborough Chelsea’s booth at the Dallas Art Fair, puts the viewer eyeball to eyeball with their potential meal. While it’s a little too close for comfort (check out the sweat beads on that onion slice!), it still doesn’t stop us from wanting a bite.

Claes Oldenburg, Floor Burger (1971).

Claes Oldenburg, Floor Burger (1971). Photo: MoMA.

2. Claes Oldenburg‘s plush, floor-bound hamburger doesn’t look too appetizing, but it does provide the opportunity for an excellent portmanteau fusing the artist with his subject: Anyone in the mood for an Oldenburger?

Walter Robinson, Friendly's Big Beef Burger (2012). Photo: Paddle8.

Walter Robinson, Friendly’s Big Beef Burger (2012).
Photo: Paddle8.

3. Now this is the kind of burger portrait that really makes our mouth water. The soft focus and loose, expressive brushwork make the stacked sandwich and surrounding fries look extra yummy, and the specification in the title that it’s from the all-American diner Friendly’s makes us feel like we really know what we’re getting. We can practically taste it!

Katherine Bernhardt, Hamburgers and French Fries and Basket Balls.

Katherine Bernhardt, Hamburgers and French Fries and Basket Balls.

4. Bernhardt’s burgers are certainly some of the most festive we’ve seen, and we appreciate the proximity of the basketballs to help us work off some of the calories from all this greasy food—at least they aren’t cigarettes, as she had in her LA mural.

5. Andy Warhol was a fan of making films that depict mundane activities in excruciating detail (eight hours of the Empire State Building, for example), but this short film of him eating a Burger King hamburger slathered in Heinz ketchup is both charming and awesome.

Paul McCarthy, Bossy Burger (1991). BBQ turkey leg, television, stage set, bowls, cooking utensils, chair, counter, milk, flour, ketchup, mayonnaise, dolls, chef costume, rubber Alfred E. Neuman mask, and video, dimensions variable.Performance, video, and installation at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles © Paul McCarthy Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich London

Paul McCarthy, Bossy Burger (1991).
BBQ turkey leg, television, stage set, bowls, cooking utensils, chair, counter, milk, flour, ketchup, mayonnaise, dolls, chef costume, rubber Alfred E. Neuman mask, and video, dimensions variable.
Performance, video, and installation at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles
© Paul McCarthy
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich London

6. Of course, there’s Paul McCarthy‘s giant bottle of ketchup, which was installed at City Hall Park for the Public Art Fund’s 2012 “Common Ground” show. But the more intriguing work, if you can stomach it, is McCarthy’s 1991 performance and video Bossy Burger.


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