Nir Adar: The Wizard of Ice

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Like his commercial work, Adar’s art embraces the temporal nature of things—fearlessly. In 2004, for New York’s Chocolate Show, Adar constructed a Wall of Memories to benefit the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA): 37 feet of white sugar icing embedded with 1,500 spoons, each holding a fresh strawberry above a trough of melted chocolate. Donors dipped a berry into the chocolate then left the empty spoon on the wall, taking a moment to reflect on a person who had been lost to AIDS.

Turning to food politics, Adar confronted the issue of obesity as a contributor to Value Meal: Design and (over)Eating, the United States’ entry to France’s 2004 Saint-Étienne International Design Biennale. His Deliciously Disgusting photographic series captured a Big Mac, fries, donuts, and other fast-food bombs squished between pieces of glass: “It’s my sense of humor combined with the grotesque,” Adar reflects, intended to expose “the dubious attraction of such foods.” To get the shot, “I took each ‘food group,’ placed it between two pieces of glass, and stood on top.” An intriguing counterpoint to commercial food styling, to be sure—or perhaps just another point on the no-tricks continuum à la Adar.

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A former senior features editor at Gourmet magazine, Nanette Maxim is a New York–based writer and editor for Web sites such as Gilt Taste and for special projects at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, among others. Maxim’s recent work for Gourmet Live featured the farmers’ markets chefs love best and rising-star sous-chefs at five revered restaurants.

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