Hot Dogs & High Art

The humble hot dog easily becomes an object of controversy when it encroaches upon the stratified realm of High Art and related points of lordliness. Heaven forbid that the earthy fragrance of beef, mustard and sauerkraut should vitiate the genius loci of such as Picasso and Cézanne; artistic gravity doesn’t permit such an outrageous violation of its laws.

For years a hotdog stand was parked at the entrance-way to the famed and legendary Guggenheim Museum; and, I’m sure, selling many a hot dog to the museum’s variously casual or spellbound crowds of visitors. Nevertheless, from their lofty heights (and I wonder what took them so long) the Guggenheim’s conservatorship looked down on the scene and spotted the yellow and blue Sabrett umbrella/ accompanying stand sporting illustrative signs reading  Hot Dogs, Hot Pretzels, Chili, etc…they didn’t like what they saw at their gate.

Thus began a campaign that soon evolved into a strategy of “If you can’t beat them, join them”…but on a more artistic (if not more profitable) level.

The museum had proposed marring its singular Frank Lloyd Wright building by adding a hot dog stand [of its own] to the entryway of the structure. The argument was that it was more sightly than the hot dog vendor who has been parking himself out front for years. The museum even hired top-notch architect Andre Kikoski to design the thing, he of the James Beard Awardwinning Wright restaurant that recently replaced the old cafeteria.

But the hot dog that goes around comes around. The Guggenheim’s conservatorship is now itself being frowned upon for its proposed hot dog artistry.

“While I admire the design and find the material selection interesting,” said Fred Bland, a commissioner and principal at Beyer Blinder Belle, “at no level can I accept the design. The quality of the museum and particularly the cantilevered entrance would be violated.” Chairman Robert Tierney concurred: “All the standards by which we judge applications are not met in this proposal.”

While these pundits busily engage themselves in heated discussions over the philosophy of Hot Dogs and High Art, a humble Sabrett vendor (seen here) continues to quietly conduct his business outside the museum where Life and Art go on.

NY Observer


One comment on “Hot Dogs & High Art

  1. Sha Hausmann says:

    Hmmmm. Food for thought.

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