A Metro Detroit museum manager shows how to seize the moment.
Matthew Stiffler, research and content manager at the Arab American National Museum, grabs attention by spoofing a widely seen bit of dubious "art" with this culturally appropriate Dearborn stunt above.
A brief shawarma-on-the-wall "exhibit" this week mocked an equally perishable duct-taped display at Art Basel Miami Beach last week by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan:
Stiffler tells Middle East Eye, a news site based in London:
"It was just a funny thing, but we also want to make a claim that when there are conversations about art happening, Arab Americans have something to say." . . .
He added that as light-hearted as the shawarma artwork is, it fits into the museum's mission of promoting Arab-American art. "The museum is focusing on building Arab-American art - building the capacity for Arab-American artists to do their work, building our collection of art," Stiffler said.
The manager credits curator Elizabeth Barret-Sullivan with suggesting shawarma when he proposed the gimmick.
The museum bought the sandwich from Country Chicken, a Arabic restaurant in Dearborn, without alerting the chef that it would turn into a work of art, said Stiffler.
A museum tweet showing the wall-worthy shawarma, identified as "New art piece for sale," is shared about 270 times and earns nearly 900 "like" hearts.
"I’d much rather eat that than a banana," one comment says. "Is there hummus and tabouli salad with that?