MoMA PS1 Rooftop Sprouts Salad Party

Salad, herbs, and art make perfect summertime cocktail.

The art world’s latest hot spot may just be on top of MoMA PS1, which hosted its first rooftop salad party on July 20. As previously reported by artnet News, the museum’s rooftop is now open to the public as a café run by the team from the museum’s popular M. Wells Dinette, but the space also has an artsier side—and not just the permanently-installed Richard Serra and Julian Schnabel artworks. Brooklyn-based artist and photographer Julia Sherman has teamed up with urban farmer Camilla Hammer to plant a rooftop garden, creating “Artist-Made” salads with an impressive slate of artists assuming sous-chef duties.

Sherman, who tends her own garden in Clinton Hill, was approached by PS1—which was perhaps inspired by urban farming initiatives at other museums like beekeeping at the Whitney or the Brooklyn Museum’s farm stand—about planting a garden on the museum’s roof. Despite her enthusiasm for the project, “I quickly realized I couldn’t do it all my by myself,” Sherman told artnet News in a phone conversation. Hammer, a project manager at Battery Park’s Battery Urban Farm, soon came on board, and the pair worked together to build an irrigation system and begin cultivating the new green space.

Currently, Sherman is focusing on her artist interview series, which runs on her Salad for President blog. She invites artists to prepare their favorite salad recipes up on the museum roof, photographing the cooking process and quizzing the artists on their practice and as well as their non-art passions (like, say, gardening and salad-making).

Past guests have included sculptor and Columbia visual arts professor Jon Kessler, who prepared Eli Zabar’s green salad with tomatoes and garlic vinaigrette, and married couple Sina Najafi (the founder and editor of Cabinet magazine) and mixed-media artist Nina Katchadourian, who made a Tribute Salad. Also on deck for the summer are Liz DeschenesMika Rottenberg, and David Brooks, among others.

Already, in only its second month, the garden in producing well beyond Sherman’s expectations. “We’re trying to figure out the different ways that people can use the produce,” she explains, slightly overwhelmed. Ideas include harvest events, which would allow visitors to bring home some of the garden’s bounty, and potluck meals, which would also utilize its proliferating herbs and greens.

To celebrate the growing garden, Hammer and Sherman hosted a three-and-a-half hour dinner party on the afternoon of July 20, feeding guests with the fruits of their labors. Among the highlights were martinis with your choice of no less than 12 different alcoholic infusions (some gin, some vodka) made from rooftop herbs and other vegetable such as shiso, red veined celery, and lemon verbena.

The roughly 130 people who stopped by were treated to sweeping views of Manhattan, hyper-local farm-to-table cuisine, and appropriate party favors: freshly cut herbs and Sherman’s homemade herb salts.

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