These Artists Took the French Fry to a Whole New Level

What better occasion to survey their work than National French Fry day?

People looking at a 2006 art exhibition of giant French fries during the 'Krak van de Frietzak.' Courtesy of Getty Images.
People looking at a 2006 art exhibition of giant French fries during the 'Krak van de Frietzak.' Courtesy of Getty Images.

Today is National French Fry day, so those of you looking for a reason to indulge in some deep-fried heaven needn’t look any further. (If you’re in the area, we recommend you stop by Pommes Frites, which recently reopened on MacDougal Street in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood.)

While we plan on celebrating the holiday with a box of piping hot taters of our own, we’d be remiss to survey some artists who have taken the guilty pleasure in colorful, artistic directions.

Fries have served as an inspiration for artists, such as the ones below, to create unique, fun, and even absurd compositions. Others, still, have used the french fry, and its connection to commercialism à la McDonalds and company, as opportunities to offer up some serious social commentary.

Without further ado, we invite you to kick back with your box of fries and check out our roundup below:

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Katherine Bernhardt. Hamburgers, French Fries, and Basketballs (2013). Courtesy of the Canada Gallery.

1. Katherine Bernhardt
Katherine Bernhardt‘s exhibition, “Stupid, Crazy, Ridiculous, Funny Patterns,” was on view at the Canada Gallery in New York two years ago. However, her paintings are still exciting to look at, and we’re sure everybody has their own way of interpreting the colorful still lives.

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Terry Border. McDonalds As Sculpture Materials, part of Bent Objects (2013). Courtesy of the artist.

2. Terry Border
An Indiana-state native, Terry Border started his photography series Bent Objects in 2006, wherein he arranges different objects with human-like characteristics. Here, we see him employing a box of McDonald’s french fries and a packet of ketchup to craft arachnid-like insects.

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Claes Oldenburg. French Fries and Ketchup (1963). Courtesy of the Whitney Museum.

3. Claes Oldenburg,
Claes Oldenburg‘s work typically involves large replicas of everyday objects, namely around the theme of “soft sculptures.” Here, the American sculptor showcases another epic combination of french fries and ketchup. The work was part of his 2009 exhibition at the Whitney Museum with Coosje Van Bruggen, titled, The Music Room.

4. Ben Frost
Australian artist Ben Frost is known for his graphic presentations, and in 2014, the Soze Gallery in Los Angeles held an exhibition of his titled “Know Your Product.” The works on view included pop-heavy illustrations printed on McDonald’s french fry cartons.

5. John Raymond Henry
In a turn for the abstract, John Henry produced a scuplture titled “Big Max” in 2011—which is a riff on the McDonald’s burger of the same name. The three-piece installation, painted in a sleek read coating, sculpturally resembles the shape of the chain’s fries.


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