8$: L.A. Heat: Taste Changing Condiments

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WHO: Chinese American Museum

WHAT: Indiegogo project: L.A. Heat: Taste Changing Condiments
L.A. Heat is a exhibition that offers a curated selection of artwork inspired by Sriracha and/or Tapatío from established and emerging L.A. artists. Scheduled for March 13, 2014-July 13, 2014 at the Chinese American Museum

American cuisine can be used as an indicator of the changing demographics and tastes in the United States. LA Heat: Taste-Changing Condiments—Artworks that explore the impact of Sriracha and Tapatio in Los Angeles is a multidisciplinary exhibition, scheduled to open at the Chinese American Museum in March 2014 and run through July 2014. The exhibit will include a curated selection of artwork from established and emerging artists, excerpts of oral histories of artists, food writers, chefs, historians, and community on their experiences with food, and a series of public programs that explore the arts, food culture, foodways, and cultural identity. By exploring the use of culturally specific condiments that have become part of larger mainstream food culture, CAM hopes to increase awareness and broader acceptance of the different cultural influences on the American food palette.

Since the city’s founding, Los Angeles has been uniquely situated on the Pacific Rim becoming an experimental playground and incubator people from diverse cultural backgrounds to create new innovations including the culinary arts. Influenced by factors like globalization and transnational migration, these cultural intersections have inspired Los Angeles food culture and altered the national and international food palette with homegrown inventions such as mochi ice cream, Japanese-inspired California rolls, French dip sandwiches, fortune cookies, cheeseburgers, and the mass-production of tortilla chips.

Sriracha and Tapatio hot sauces are two examples of the recent homegrown all-American condiments that have dramatically impacted American cuisine. The rise in popularity of these condiments signifies an increase in Asian and Latino populations living in the US and especially in Los Angeles after the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965. In 1971, Mexican immigrant Jose-Luis Saavedra, Sr., started Tapatio Hot Sauce, a unique combination of red chili peppers, spices and a hint of garlic, in a warehouse in Maywood, California. David Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam of Chinese ancestry, started making Thai-inspired Sriracha sauce blended from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic in small shop in Los Angeles Chinatown in 1983. In large American cities everywhere, both Sriracha and Tapatio contend to rival Heinz Ketchup and French’s mustard as the all-American condiment for the Y-Generation, for these hot sauces have become interwoven into the American cultural fabric and thus becoming an ubiquitous condiment in American cuisine.

WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Friday, January 03, 2014 (11:59pm PT).


“Hot sauce must be hot. If you don’t like it hot, use less.” –David Tran, creator of Sriracha Hot Sauce

Can you imagine pho without Sriracha? Can you imagine tacos without Tapatío? Now can you imagine breathing without air? That’s how we at the museum feel – that it’s impossible to live without these two sauces so we are creating an art exhibition to celebrate Tapatío and the much coveted rooster sauce.

Our upcoming exhibition L.A. Heat: Taste-Changing Condiments examines Los Angeles in a new way by exploring two hot sauces that are produced in Los Angeles. What is the significance that these two quintessential American condiments were developed and made in Los Angeles? What can it tell us about our city and our city’s role in America’s shifting culinary traditions? And what will happen when we assemble 25 Los Angeles based artists together to create work based off of red-hot, mouth burning condiments? Donate now to see what happens!

Your contributions will enable the museum to develop a catalog and exhibit works inspired by Sriracha and/or Tapatío in a variety of mediums from established as well as emerging artists based in Los Angeles.

The exhibit is scheduled to open in March 2014 and will run through July 2014. We are open to the public and our admission is free.

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About jozjozjoz

jozjozjoz is a taiwanese-american gal who lives and blogs underneath the hollywood sign and who doesn’t clean her fishtank unless the fish starts to do the backstroke. she is also able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but cannot stop from bumping into door handles, cabinet doors, and anything else that protrudes or has a sharp edge. she does not run with scissors for this same reason. she can pet the fur off a dog but don’t ask her to go anywhere near a horse. or a moth. or a roach. her dealings with L.A.’s finest (aka the parking violations department) are legend, as are her giant sneezes. Other than the two too many joz’s, jozjozjoz is a perfectly normal, relatively sane individual who defies the odds, reaches for the stars, and carries moonbeams home in a jar. She’d rather be a fish… but not in her own dirty fishtank. http://www.jozjozjoz.com
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