On Friday, January 6, 2012, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will transform into a neighborhood lunch break room to celebrate the final weeks of Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break, an exhibition that contemplates workers’ activities during their lunch breaks through film, photography, and writing. From 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in The Schwab Room on the ground level, just off the museum’s Haas Atrium, Rice Paper Scissors—a Vietnamese pop-up café that has taken over warehouses and alleyways and energized the local dining scene—will join SFMOMA mainstays Blue Bottle Coffee Co. and Caffè Museo in selling special menus inspired by the exhibition.
At the Pop-Up Lunch Break—the first event of its kind at SFMOMA—Rice Paper Scissors will offer a new menu item crafted specifically for this event, a tomato sardine banh mi, as well as two crowd favorites, a pork belly banh mi and a vegetarian smoked “duck” banh mi (see below for full menu). Blue Bottle Coffee Co. will sell caramel corn with peanuts, brandy, and maple syrup, served in a white box. And rounding out the offerings, Caffè Museo will sell packaged lunches in to-go boxes containing sandwiches, an apple, and chips.
Throughout the event, Sharon Lockhart will participate via Skype, and contributors to the Lunch Break Times will be present in person at a large community table inviting visitors to discuss their various lunch break traditions and stories. The Lunch Break Times is a newspaper produced by Lockhart in conjunction with her show at SFMOMA. A variety of local and national writers contributed a range of articles, from personal accounts of lunch breaks and favorite recipes to politically charged essays addressing workers’ rights to meal breaks. A slide show of Lockhart’s photographs and crowdsourced images of people’s favorite lunches will also be on view in the Schwab Room while members of the public eat their lunches and take in the discussion.
Valerie Luu and Katie Kwan, the duo of Vietnamese street food vendors behind Rice Paper Scissors, drew on The Lunch Break Times to design their menu for the event. One article instantly connected: “The Beloved Banh Mi” by Andrea Nguyen, which features the author’s favorite recipes for banh mi sandwiches. But it was an article about the dying sardine industry in Maine, “Sardine Man” by Joe Hannan, that inspired the ingredients. Hannan writes about the closure of the last sardine cannery in Maine, inspiring Luu and Kwan to use sardines as an homage to the diminishing sardine industry, and to activate the underused ingredient. As a plus, Luu and Kwan add, “the banh mi is a staple lunch for many folks around SFMOMA—quick, easy, delicious. Our banh mi will offer people in the neighborhood a new take on their favorite lunch.”
Also drawing inspiration from the exhibition, Blue Bottle’s popcorn includes a custom message written on a Post-it note, nodding to the hand-written notes that appear in many of Lockhart’s photographs, and Caffe Museo’s traditional lunch packaged in to-go boxes references the working class lunch boxes central to Lockhart’s work.
Visitors may drop in for a quick lunch or stay for the duration of the event. Guests will receive free copies of The Lunch Break Times and free tickets to a screening of Sharon Lockhart’s films Podworka and No at SFMOMA on January 12, 2012, 7 p.m. They will also be able to enter for the chance to win five SFMOMA guest passes and a Sharon Lockhart catalogue.
Pop-Up Lunch Break Menu
Rice Paper Scissors
Tomato Sardine Banh Mi, $6
Pan-fried sardines in a lemongrass tomato sauce with housemade mayo, cucumbers, jalapenos, and cilantro
Pork Belly Banh Mi, $8
Pork belly sandwich with pate, housemade mayo, pickled carrots and daikons, cucumbers, jalapenos, and cilantro
Vegetarian Smoked “Duck,” $8
Vegan smoked “duck” with mushrooms, mayo, pickled carrots and daikons, jalapenos, and cilantro (**Can be made vegan**)
Chao (Rice Porridge), $6
Served with chicken confit, ginger, and scallions
Coconut and Walnut Tea Cookies, $3
Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
Caramel Corn with Peanuts, Brandy, and Maple Syrup, $4
Served heat-sealed in a bag, in a white box, with a custom message written on a Post-it note
Lunch Break Special, $8.50
Ham or chicken sandwich, apple, chips, and water
About Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break
Closing on January 16, 2012, Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break features a large-scale film installation, selected photographs, and a Bay Area edition of the artist’s free take-away newspaper, the Lunch Break Times. Through film, photography, and the print medium, Lockhart reflects on the presence of the individual in the context of industrial labor. The exhibition contemplates workers’ activities during their time off from production, bringing into view everyday situations that typically escape our collective attention. Lockhart’s work is completely unsentimental yet deeply humane, focused on mundane details yet grounded in a contemporary political and economic reality: the decline of the American industrial working class in the context of 21st-century global capitalism. See the full release for more information.
Sharon Lockhart Films: Program 2
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Podworka, Sharon Lockhart, 2009, 31 min., video
No, Sharon Lockhart, 2003, 34 min., 16mm
Phyllis Wattis Theater
Podworka observes children in Lodz, Poland, as they transform parking lots, storage units, and other abandoned urban structures into centers of play. Views of a cold and traffic-weary city are brought to life through the children’s creative vitality. Described as a landscape painting in real time, No captures the routine labor of a Japanese peasant couple as they methodically bundle hay and spread it out over a field. Lockhart’s camera remains still and unchanging throughout, calling into question the relationship between photography and cinema.
About Rice Paper Scissors
Rice Paper Scissors was created by Valerie Luu and Katie Kwan, two Vietnamese street food vendors in San Francisco. Inspired by the sidewalk dining and street food they experienced in Vietnam, they recreate the experience here in San Francisco, complete with small tables, even smaller stools, fresh Vietnamese condiments, and a rotating menu of Vietnamese comfort foods.