First time I saw one of New York-based artist Jennifer Rubell’s Nutcrackers was last year at the NY Frieze Art Fair, but now I came across her website and see that the fun pecan-crushing mannequin was only one of 18 life-size female interactive sculptures, all surrounding a pedestal containing one ton of Texas pecans. Not surprisingly, Rubell used to write about food before turning to art where she frequently employs food and drink as part of her often participatory installations that blur the lines between performance art, installation and happenings. The pile of nuts beckons to the viewer to take one and place it in the mannequin’s inner thigh (or, in the case of the one at Frieze, a little higher.) Then, by pushing down the upper leg…voila(!) the nut gets cracked.
Rubell likes the idea of breaking the traditional boundaries between viewer and artwork, also evident in her other installations such as Padded Cell, a freestanding room insulated with pink cotton candy.
Here is one of the Nutcrackers in action: