Culture

Farmed salmon de-listed from national museum's menus

Tate Enterprises Ltd joins other institutions in avoiding the controversial food with massive impacts

This winter, London-based Cooking Sections present their new project Salmon: A Red Herring at Tate Britain, reflecting on the impact of salmon farms on the environment. This is the latest in Tate Britain’s ongoing Art Now series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and highlighting new developments in British art.

Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners examining the systems that organise the world through food. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture, ecology and geopolitics. Salmon: A Red Herring is a continuation of Cooking Sections’ long-term body of work CLIMAVORE which explores how our diet can address and respond to the climate emergency. Different from carnivore, omnivore, locavore, vegetarian or vegan diets, CLIMAVORE is not only about the origin of food, but also about the agency that food has in our response to human-induced climatic events. At the core of CLIMAVORE and Salmon: A Red Herring at Tate Britain is an aim to embrace an adaptive and responsive form of eating.

The exhibition consists of a site-responsive installation which uses sound, light and sculpture to explore the deceptive reality of salmon, both as a colour and a fish. Beyond the symbolic space of the exhibition galleries, the project has also prompted a direct action: the long-term removal of farmed salmon from food outlets at all four Tate sites. In close dialogue with the artists, chefs have been inspired to create alternative dishes using ingredients that promote regenerative aquaculture. You can find these new menu items at the Djanogly Café and the Members’ Room at Tate Britain.

Cooking Sections commented:

Salmon: A Red Herring is the culmination of a multi-year research process into the detrimental effects of intensive salmon farming on the UK's environment. We are grateful that Tate has become part of the CLIMAVORE network by permanently removing farmed salmon from their menus, becoming a cultural space not only to reflect upon urgent ecological questions, but also to start taking concrete action to address the climate emergency.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain added: “We are delighted to welcome visitors back to the first new Art Now display at Tate Britain opening this year. Art Now offers us an exciting opportunity to work with contemporary artists at a time at which their practice feels particularly relevant. Cooking Sections’ work is fascinating and inspirational and I hope it sparks many important conversations.”

Art Now is a series of free exhibitions at Tate Britain focusing on new and recent work by emerging artists. Since the 1990s, Art Now has recognised talent at its outset and provided a launching platform for artists who have gone on to become established figures on the international art scene. The series has recently included Sophia Al-Maria, France-Lise McGurn, Joanna Piotrowska, Jesse Darling, Lisa Brice, Marguerite Humeau and Simeon Barclay. Art Now: Cooking Sections: Salmon: A Red Herring is curated by Nathan Ladd, Assistant Curator, Contemporary British Art, Tate. The exhibition is accompanied by a new book, Salmon: A Red Herring, published by Isolarii. Art Now: Cooking Sections: Salmon: A Red Herring was conceived before Covid-19.

Cooking Sections: Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe

  • 2 December 2020 – 28 February 2021
  • Supported by the Art Now Supporters Circle and Tate Americas Foundation
  • Free admission, timed tickets must be booked in advance by all visitors, including members
  • Open daily 10.00 – 18.00
  • For public information call +44 (0)20 7887 8888, visit www.tate.org.uk, follow @Tate #ArtNow #climavore

Menu upgrades

Tate Eats runs Tate’s cafés, bars and restaurants and is part of Tate Enterprises Ltd, Tate’s commercial subsidiary. Central to the project are interventions in Tate Eats, across cafes at all Tate sites. Chefs have created new dishes using sea-foraged ingredients, which has resulted in two new additions to Tate menus: Fermented whole grain barley and kelp broth with soda bread, and a roasted carrot, orzo and kale salad with sea lettuce and walnut pesto. Tate Eats has also worked with Cuillin Brewery on Skye, to create a new Seaweed IPA.

Seaweed is a key component of the ongoing Cooking Sections menus and dialogue, as it cleans and oxygenates sea water. The kelp and sea lettuce used in the Tate menu comes from the Cornish Seaweed Company, supplier of organic handpicked edible seaweed from the west coast of Cornwall.

Ingredients have been selected and sourced in support of the CLIMAVORE project and the research that Cooking Sections have done, so visitors can taste a reflection of what the work explores.

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