The British, it can be said, have a difficult relationship with gingers. This goes back at least to Jonathan Swift, who observed in “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms” that “it is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest,” or, more commonly, back to grade school, where Britons are known to show no quarter when it comes to teasing those of the penny coloring.
Grizedale Arts, a Tate-partnered food and arts collective, decided to celebrate this downtrodden lot at its project space inside London’s Frieze art fair. On Friday, Grizedale hosted an invite-only dinner specifically for ginger curators. The menu, prepared by Margot Henderson of the restaurant Arnold & Henderson (and a ginger, natch) consisted of pumpkin soup and orange pasta served on ceramic plates.
The curators, 18 or so of them, could be viewed on a platform from above as they dined, like animals at a zoo, and seemed as happy as could be, all things considered (they were being gawked at, were gingers, etc.). It should be said that they were definitely not all curators. There were two artists in the mix and a woman who works at Gagosian Gallery. After the first course, a waiter collected the soup cups and dumped them into a miniature trash can as though ginger saliva were a biohazardous material.
“I think they have had a lot of good PR recently, because they have been so oppressed,” said Lily, a blonde who works at a gallery. She watched them from above. “There was a piece in The Times of London the other day about how ginger men are more desirable, with Prince Harry and Damian Lewis so much in the news these days.”
“It started as a joke,” said Alistair Hudson (salt and pepper), a deputy director at Grizedale, of how they came up with the idea. “We’d always say that you can tell where the Scottish galleries are at Frieze because they’re always surrounded by this cluster of ginger curators. But this was done entirely out of love.”
“Oh, and they do deserve it, don’t they?” said another deputy director, who approached, and glanced in the corral. “The poor things.”