“It’s crispy and fresh,” commented Biba, who just watched her salad being thrown over the railing and dropping about 15 feet into a giant tarp at the High Line last Sunday.
Tossing food around is usually a prohibited High Line activity, but this was not random food flinging. Rather, it was a historical recreation of a 1962 Fluxus performance art piece by Alison Knowles called “Make a Salad.” She recreated it in 2006 at the Tate Modern in London for a hungry audience of about 3,000 salad-eating spectators. New York City’s “Make a Salad” didn’t draw those numbers (blame it on the Earth Day rain and Sunday morning good intentions gone bad?) but there were certainly hundreds of spectators on hand.
At 10 a.m., the odd and occasional amplified guitar strum came from the lower section of the 16th Street Chelsea Market Passage. From time to time, the musician, Joshua Selman, added a leaf of lettuce, a leek or seaweed under his guitar strings, eventually hiding most of the guitar in garden-camouflage. Between 10 and 11, on the upper level of the passageway, the team of salad choppers began filling bags with freshly washed and cut carrots, romaine lettuce, escarole, mushrooms and more. It’s not a salad without dressing so it’s no surprise they made blenderfuls of vinaigrette as well.
The crowd gathered slowly, appearing just a little logy on this wet Sunday morning. It all happened in a kind of slow motion haze until, just after noon, when the tarp was brought out and the pace instantly quickened. Volunteers held on to the tarp like they were going to catch a fire victim jumping from a burning building. But instead of catching a falling human, they caught veggies and vinaigrette that were flung over the High Line railing. As if it were a baby being
bounced on a blanket, the gleeful tarp holders synchronized and tossed the enormous salad with abandon. Then it was served to all who attended – in compostable bowls, of course! According to Ben, one of the lucky New York City “Make A Salad” participants, “It’s delicious!”