Sharon Butler in Smithsonian:
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was the first artist in the modern era to think of the preparation and consumption of food as art. The avant-garde Futurist movement, formed by Marinetti and other artists in Milan in 1909, embraced the industrial age and all things mechanical—from automobiles and planes to manufacturing methods and city planning. They thought cooking and dining, so central to everyone’s day-to-day lives, should also be central to their farsighted, far-out ideals. In 1932, Marinetti published The Futurist Cookbook. It was not merely a set of recipes; it was a kind of manifesto. He cast food preparation and consumption as part of a new worldview, in which entertaining became avant-garde performance. The book prescribed the necessary elements for a perfect meal. Such dining had to feature originality, harmony, sculptural form, scent, music between courses, a combination of dishes, and variously flavored small canapés. The cook was to employ high-tech equipment to prepare the meal. Politics could not be discussed, and food had to be prepared in such a way that eating it did not require silverware.
Marinetti’s musings could not have predicted the role food would come to play in art nearly a century later. Contemporary artists have used food to make statements: political (especially feminist), economic, and social. They’ve opened restaurants as art projects, conducted performances in which food is prepared and served in galleries, and crafted elaborate sculptures from edible materials like chocolate and cheese. Horrifying as it might have seemed to Marinetti, some artists today even embrace food as a rejection of everyone and everything that is future-obsessed. Looking back, food has always played a role in art: Stone Age cave painters used vegetable juice and animal fats as binding ingredients in their paints, and the Egyptians carved pictographs of crops and bread on hieroglyphic tablets. During the Renaissance, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a painter for the Habsburg court in Vienna, and later, for the Royal Court in Prague, painted whimsical puzzle-like portraits in which facial features were composed of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.