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Bon Appetit: James Victore’s Delicious Week

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A show in Brooklyn! A cover in the New York Times! James Victore is everywhere this week. And our NY stringer Lindsay Ballant was right there with him.

James Victore reigns supreme…

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…especially this week. In addition to a compelling (and lovely) series of illustrations for this week’s New York Times Magazine cover story, he kicked off “In Gold We Trust,” an exhibition of dinner plates at Williamsburg’s The Future Perfect furniture showroom and gallery. In Victore’s third showing since 2005, the pieces get stronger and stronger with age. “I know what works and I’ve whittled it down to the most compelling pieces, from 60, to 100, now 8,” said Victore. Each plate is hand scrawled in unmistakably charming Victorian language: skulls, olive branches, fish bones, and the classic mealtime mantra “Vagina is for Lovers.”

There’s a certain cordial decorum with fine dining that led Victore to exploit this medium. “When I think of dinner, I think of long spans of time,” he said. “Hours and hours, with burned-down candles, empty bottles of wine, good conversation. I want these plates to be a part of that experience.” Imagine plates gorgeous enough to be displayed in the finest of China cabinets, yet completely functional. They’re the meat and potatoes of the meal.

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Victore began creating these works in his early days as a young artist. While hanging out at bars and restaurants, he would often scribble on small plates and give them away to friends and other admirers. It was only when he saw his own work on a wall at a friend’s house that he realized the potential in this charismatic pastime. David Alhadeff, founder and proprietor of The Future Perfect, knew a good thing when he saw it. A friend forwarded Victore’s website along, and he was instantly intrigued. After a studio visit, he offered the space and Victore offered him these wares. “I like to leave it up to the artist,” said Alhadeff. Good call.

Following shows last year at Instigator Gallery in Brooklyn and Design
Within Reach in Manhattan, Victore’s plates have attracted press from Bazaar and Food + Wine. Victore, never one to shy away from a podium, is looking ahead to get these manufactured, but not if it means marginalizing content. No restrained imagery allowed at this table. The beauty of these pieces lies in the bold language, which simply wouldn’t fly if muted down to quiet accents. “They have to say something, otherwise what’s the point of saying anything?”

I’ll toast to that.

Lindsay Ballant is associate art director at Print.

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