50 Shades of Cake

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Photography © Nancy Buchanan
50 Shades of Cake

5558 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042
June 14th, 2014 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

eagle rock/highland park
Second Saturday Gallery Nights
bake sale, photography, conceptual


Renowned Northeast LA artist Nancy Buchanan's work has often involved issues of wealth and its social costs. She began making grey cakes in early 2013. Titled "50 Shades of Cake," this project continued her investigation of excesses in an age of income disparity, and the juxtaposition of desire vs. repulsion. She photographed the cakes in color, yet the final prints have some tension between being back and white or color.

The international Depressed Cake Shop movement, while tasking grey confections with different intentions, is a serendipitous coincidence. It is a pop-up concept that sells grey colored cakes and other baked goods with the purpose of raising awareness about mental health issues. Proceeds from the cake shops are donated to a charity of the pop-up’s choice. The idea was conceived by Emma Cakehead in the UK and Depressed Cake Shops have popped up all over the world, and made Oprah’s Gratitude List in the December, 2013 issue of O Magazine. This issue has particular relevance for Nancy Buchanan. Her sister Kitty first had a bipolar episode at age 30. Because their parents were no longer living, Nancy intervened several times over the years to help Kitty, whose depression was immobilizing, and who wrote a letter to anyone suffering a manic episode, urging them to take the medication that manages this illness. Buchanan has also dealt with depression herself.

The World Health Organization lists depression as the number one illness in the world. Depressed Cake Shops provide an experience that encourages discussion about mental health issues, including — but not limited to — depression.

Buchanan will show the series of photographic prints, as well as recent silkscreened cupcake prints made with master printer Jos Sances in Berkeley, CA. Art and crafts produced within the Wellness Center's "Healing Through Art" groups will also be displayed and offered for sale.

Nancy Buchanan has worked in various media, including installation, pastel, collage, mixed media, video and performance. A longtime Northeast Los Angeles resident, she's involved with the Arroyo Arts Collective, as well as the LA_ArtGirls and the Artists Formerly Known As Women (AFKAW), who collaborate on works concerned with water usage. Her mother was born in Los Angeles and as a child was photographed astride an ostrich at the famous local farm.

Baked goods are being prepared by a variety of talented bakers, no-host coffee bar provided by The Greyhound Bar & Grill. 100% of proceeds from the bake sale will benefit the Northeast Wellness Center. The Northeast Wellness Center is an LA county dept. serving stakeholders and community partners in providing clinically competent, culturally sensitive, and linguistically appropriate mental health services to clients in the least restrictive manner possible. Their North East LA office is a neighbor of the gallery.