An art exhibit opened on Thursday in Los Angeles celebrating two hot sauces produced in Southern California, Tapatio and Sriracha. At the Chinese American Museum's L.A. Heat: Taste-Changing Condiments exhibit, over 20 artists have contributed some 30 works inspired by the spicy sauces, including paintings, illustrations, silk screen prints, and a gas mask connected to a bottle of Sriracha. According to the foreward in the collection catalogue below, the exhibit is a testament to the cultural power of these two condiments: "What these sauces represent, not what they taste, has made them a target of controversy for fans and detractors, but as this exhibition attests, LA HEAT–packaged with a blue-eyed Charo or a pair of roosters–is here to stay." The exhibit will run through July 12.
The opening of the exhibit follows a difficult patch in Sriracha's public relations. The embattled Huy Fong Foods company was brought to court in the Fall by neighbors complaining that the factory's production caused unpleasant odors and burning eyes. In late November, a judge ordered that Huy Fong Foods cease any operations that cause irritating odors, although how exactly they were supposed to do that was unspecified. The company has faced shipping delays, and is awaiting a decision from the City Council on whether it is a public nuisance. Below, the catalogue from L.A. Heat and more photos of the artworks.