Produced for the exhibition youGenics – http://www.yougenics.netheld at the Betty Rymer Gallery, School of the Art Institute of Chicago – Curator – Ryan Griffis. 2004
3 plexiglass vitrine/glove boxes with mirrored bottoms,
Sara Lee™ cheese cake, plate, fork, dinner place cards for Gauguin,
Vuillard and Toulouse-Lautrec.
“Sara Lee’s art collection has made a statement – a quality statement – about our company. Art is all about excellence and vision and striving for perfection – the same standards that we uphold for our portfolio of leading brands. We are quite certain that the ‘brand names’ of Monet, Renoir and Degas have been a great complement to Sara Lee and have become icons of excellence that reflect our approach to doing business. Our gift to America acknowledges our belief that these works of art can provide similar influence and motivation for a broader audience.”
– John H. Bryan, former CEO and current consultant to, Sara Lee Corporation, current director of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Inc., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Chicago, speaking at a 1998 ceremony in honor of Sara Lee’s “Millennium Gift to America,” a public relations initiative through which Sara Lee would give away the top tier of its renowned art collection to museums located throughout the world including The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). The AIC, which was given paintings by Gauguin and Vuillard, has a close relationship with Sara Lee. The corporation is the sole corporate sponsor of blockbuster exhibitions of artists such as Cassatt and Toulouse-Lautrec as well as the lead corporate sponsor of exhibitions and events of the Betty Rymer gallery.
“The big issue on standards for the Grocery Manufacturers of America is to be sure that people don’t perceive ‘organic’ as superior.”
– Gene Grabowski, vice president of communications for Grocery Manufacturers of America, Inc (GMA), the Washington, D.C.-based industry association, which represents 144 manufacturers of branded consumer packaged goods including Sara Lee. GMA is stridently opposed to labeling genetically engineered ingredients, which are already present in an estimated 60 to 80 percent of supermarket foods in the US. Under intense public pressure in Europe Sara Lee has attempted to avoid GE ingredients in their foods produced for that market, yet in America, Sara Lee has maintained the position of the GMA and their powerful Washington lobby even while shareholders and some legislators have organized to demand a GE moratorium, until long term health and environmental safety testing has been done.