Miriam Simun
The Lady Cheese Shop
Michael Mut Gallery
NY Arts Magazine

Set up as another sleek little boutique, a passerby may just have continued on down the street had it not been for the line outside and full capacity crowd huddled inside the Michael Mut Gallery the night of April 28th. Onlookers shuffled nervously, trying to get a read on how things were going inside and waiting their turn to try a product they weren’t all too sure that they wanted.

As advertised by the A-frame sign out front, this was The Lady Cheese Shop. Part of an ongoing project for artist Miriam Simun, this work offered the participant exactly as advertised; three different cheeses made in part from the milk of three separate women.

The main draw of the work was to the tasting display directly across from the entrance. There were three distinctly different cheese presentations composed by chef Sarah Hymanson. Each was accompanied by a card describing a brief bio of both the woman providing the milk and her similarly contributing animal of close geographical proximity. The backroom contained a video installation showing a woman in the process of obtaining milk with the help of a breast pump. This was followed by footage of the artist carefully combining and processing the ingredients to make the cheese product. Both scenes were shot on a stark, clinically clean white backdrop, which was dry to the point of almost seeming snarky.

Posed as an incestuous form of alternative food production, this work was centrally about the human science debate and stirring up the conversation pot. It presented a polarizing situation, which was positioned as an awakening to the dangers of integrating technology into everything we do more than alluding to any better way forward. Ms. Simun seems to be asking for us to put on the brakes and have a look around before we send ourselves blindly hurtling toward a cyborg disaster world. The concept stood as an interesting sticking point and a literal call to dinner for a society so willingly immersed in experiencing technology. The cheese, if you were wondering, was delicious.