McDonald's pickle flung onto ceiling as part of contemporary exhibition in Auckland divides art fans

McDonald's pickle flung onto ceiling as part of contemporary exhibition in Auckland divides art fans
Photo credit: Instagram / @contemporaryary

An Australian artist's work featuring a McDonald's cheeseburger pickle flung onto the ceiling is once again raising the age-old question: What is art?

The artwork, named 'Pickle', is by Sydney artist Matthew Griffin and is currently on display at Auckland's Michael Lett gallery as part of the exhibition Hosting Fine Arts, Sydney.

The piece displays a slice of pickle with sauce stuck to a pristine white ceiling. It is one artwork as part of modern abstract works on show at the gallery until July 30.

The 'Pickle' exhibit has divided art fans online, with some on social media saying it's "amazing" while others questioned, "is this real?"

"Waste of a good pickle. Do you eat it after the show?" one person asked on Griffin's Instagram.

"Is it art? Is McDonald's food?" another said.

"Oh so it's 'art' when you do it but I get asked to leave the restaurant," a third person joked. 

But while the piece is proving divisive, director of Fine Arts Sydney, Ryan Moore, said 'Pickle' will mean different things to different people - and "that's the point".

"People don’t have to think it's art if they don't want to," Moore said, as reported by the Daily Mail.

"Anything can be an artwork, but not everything is. That's often the point."

Griffin's work is known for combining "a wry humour with a DIY sensibility" across his sculptures, photography, videos and installations, Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art said.

"His playful approach, often blending references from high and popular culture, disguises a more incisive critique of truth, authenticity and the construction of images in a digital age," they said. 

"Griffin also takes jabs at the contemporary art world, drawing attention to its conceits and inherent ethical problems."

Moore added that meaning and value are things that humans create together, and can be used in art or any part of life.

"What makes an artwork is when whatever an artist makes or does is able to be used as art: when the object or action is thought about or talked about as an artwork. And that's what we are doing here, which I think is great."

Griffin described his work on Instagram as "a sculpture comprising the slice of pickle from a McDonald's cheeseburger flung onto the ceiling".

Other artists currently showing work at the Michael Lett gallery as part of Hosting Fine Arts, Sydney are Juliette Blightman, Prudence Flint and Yona Lee.