When John Miller was in kindergarten, meals with his motorcycle-dealer Dad at a drive-in diner left a lasting imprint on him. Everything from the fast food served in generous portions to the automobile culture of the era, where people came as much to eat as to show off their gas-guzzling 1970s cars, imprinted themselves in Miller's mind. Years later, as an undergraduate student of glass art at Southern Connecticut State University, he found himself sketching crinkle-cut french fries in sculpture class no matter the assignment. Bubbling up was inspiration in his memories of a by-gone era of indulgence. He's far from the first to revel in turning everyday objects into monumental pop-art sculptures, but to Miller, these seemingly whimsical objects are freighted with meaning.
"Everything has to be decadent," Miller said during a 2012 workshop at Corning, where he made food, drinks, and condiments before a large audience. "The work that I make; it can't be good for you; even the lettuce kills me to put it on when I'm putting it on the cheesburger. ... Has to be old-school American, diner style, everything has to be bad for you," he told Corning's Mandy Kritzeck in an interview.
Opening on October 27th at the Lowe Museum of Art in Coral Gables, Florida, is "Order Up: The Pop Art of John Miller," a solo exhibition featuring 35 of Miller's up-scaled food and beverage sculptures presented in settings referencing 1950s diner motifs.
“This exhibition has been an exciting endeavor, and a pleasure to engage directly with the artist, whose enthusiasm extends to his creative process, the completed artworks, and the joy he aims to evoke in viewers," said Lowe curator Caitlin Swindell in a prepared statement. "The only downside of working on this project is that every time I look at the images or write a label, for example, I am immediately hungry and ready for lunch!”
"Order Up!", which runs through January 14, 2024, was made possible by the Lowe's major patron Sheldon Palley who shared in the artist's spirit of enthusiasm: "Order Up! both highlights the individual skills and ideas of John Miller, an artist we have long supported, and a key sentiment at the core of our collecting: glass is a fine art medium that can be accessible to all,” he said in a prepared statement.
IF YOU GO:
October 27, 2023 - January 14, 2024
"Order Up: The art of John Miller"
Lowe Museum at the University of Miami
1301 Stanford Drive
Coral Gables, Florida