“Amuse-bouche. The Taste of Art” at Museum Tinguely

«Amuse-bouche. The Taste of Art» is the third art experiment at Museum Tinguely in Basel, 19 February – 17 May 2020, entering the world of the human senses.

The senses play an essential role in the experience of art. Our perception is always multisensory and strongly influenced by individual emotions and memories. Especially regarding the sense of taste, it often cannot be separated from the sense of smell or the sense of sight.

This exhibition series started with Belle Haleine – The scent of art, the groundbreaking exhibition on the sense of smell in 2015. We have covered the exhibition a few times. The Swiss artist Claudia Vogel showing Tastescape was actually also featured in Belle Haleine. In addition several works address issues of scent culture. Taste Perceptor by  Karl Gerstner for example consists of “13 labeled vials, rubber pins, fragrance, wooden box with glass window, adhesive letters, metal handle and hinge, rubber”. 

«Amuse-bouche» focuses on the sense of taste and poses the question: “In what form can this fascinating sensorium—with which we take manifold facets of the universe into the body through the mouth, tongue, and nasopharynx—become part of the aesthetic perception of art at all?”, asks the show’s curator, Annja Müller-Alsbach, pinpointing one of the central questions that Amuse-bouche attempts to answer. 

The group exhibition presents artworks by some forty-five international artists from the baroque to the present that explore our sense of taste as a dimension of aesthetic perception. Breaking with the usual museum practice of appealing primarily to the sense of sight, the show offers art-historical and phenomenological encounters with our sense of taste. Some of the works offer a participatory experience – during special guided tours and performances, the works themselves can be tasted.

A catalogue is published by Hatje-Cantz: Among other texts, this publication contains essays by the biochemist Wolfgang Meyerhof, the psychologist Charles Spence, the literary theorist Elisabeth Bronfen, and the cultural studies expert Thomas Macho.


The show includes works by artists including Sonja Alhäuser, Farah Al Qasimi, Janine Antoni, Marisa Benjamim, Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, Pol Bury, Costantino Ciervo, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Bea de Visser, Marcel Duchamp, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Urs Fischer, Fischli/Weiss, Karl Gerstner, Damien Hirst, Roelof Louw, Sarah Lucas, Opavivará!, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Cildo Meireles, Alexandra Meyer, Antonio Miralda-Dorothée Selz, Nicolas Momein, Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Otobong Nkanga, Emeka Ogboh, Dennis Oppenheim, Meret Oppenheim, Tobias Rehberger, Torbjørn Rødland, Dieter Roth, Roman Signer, Cindy Sherman, Shimabuku, Slavs and Tatars, Daniel Spoerri, Mladen Stilinović, Sam Taylor-Johnson, André Thomkins, Jorinde Voigt, Claudia Vogel, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Elizabeth Willing, Erwin Wurm, Rémy Zaugg.

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Image source: Marisa Benjamim: Entwurf für Installation im Museum Tinguely, Basel, 2019. JPG-Format (2.933 KB) 2500 x 1778 Pixel © Marisa Benjamim 2019; Foto: Andrés Galeano