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Cristobal Gracia and ArtPlant Host a French-Fry Eating Contest — and It's Art!

Chow down in the name of art: On Wednesday, April 15, ArtPlant will host a french-fry-eating contest at the "Articulated Wall" — or is that the French Fry Stack? —  in the Denver Design District off South Broadway. The contest will be documented in video and photos as material for Mexican artist Cristóbal Gracia’s exhibition at the Biennial of the Americas this summer.

Gracia and fellow Mexican artist Daniel Monroy Cuevas were chosen for the 2015 Biennial of the Americas Ambassador Program. As part of his ten-week residency in Denver, Gracia received $20,000 in funding for a project to be shown during the Biennial of the Americas, which will run July 14 through 18. Gracia’s time and work in Denver has been dedicated to Herbert Bayer’s "Articulated Wall" sculpture. In an earlier interview, Gracia disclosed that Bayer originally built his monument in Mexico City for the 1986 Olympic Games, and the Denver Design District later commissioned Bayer to build an exact replica in Denver.

“Every artist is in this program for a reason,” Gracia says. “For me, it is understanding the cultural significance of replicating the "Articulated Wall" in Denver and the symbolic destruction of the original art. Herbert Bayer spent a lot of his time in Denver and lived in Aspen, and this version of the "Articulated Wall" was the last sculpture he created in his life.”

Gracia’s temporary studio is located in Tank Studios on South Broadway, and his fascination with the "Articulated Wall" sculpture is visible here. The walls are covered with photos he’s taken of the sculpture and notes he refers to as “the investigation of Denver.” During the past eight weeks of Gracia’s residency, he's talked with other artists and community members, and learned that some Denverites refer to the Articulated Wall as the French Fry Stack — because from certain angles, it looks like french fries sticking out of a fast-food box.

“Part of the project I’m doing with this sculpture will be a french-fry-eating contest this Wednesday,” Gracia says. “Ten people will be able to compete, and we’ll give $200 to the person who can eat the most fries.”
During his time in the United States, Gracia has become fascinated with the grotesqueness and gluttony of American culture. Four canvases, shown above, are named after competitive-eating terms. The piece on the far left is titled "Chipmunking," which Gracia explains is when competitive eaters attempt to stuff as much food in their mouths as possible in the final seconds of the contest. Although Gracia won't reveal his exact plans for his final exhibition at the Biennial of the Americas, he alludes to working off the same concept of food consumption.

ArtPlant’s Amistad/Friendship French Fry Eating Contest will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, at the "Articulated Wall," 595-601 South Broadway. The contest is open to anyone over eighteen, but only the first ten people to show up and pay a $1 entry fee can participate. Each contestant will be given three pounds of French fries; whoever can eat the most in fifteen minutes will win the $200 grand prize. Click here for the full rules and regulations of the contest. 

For more information about the Biennial of the Americas or Cristóbal Gracia’s work in Denver, visit

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Lauren Archuletta is a contributor for Westword's arts section covering the Latinx community and reproductive health.

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