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During the fall and winter months, I return to Grand Central's Oyster Bar for a stellar selection of North American oysters. It's always packed and the wait staff is gruff, serving up incredible seafood in a time capsule of old New York. Mark Kurlansky's book, The Big Oyster, notes that New York City, abundant with local oysters, built road foundations from shell middens. Today, groups like NY/NJ Baykeepers are working to grow new oyster beds obliterated long ago by dredging and pollution. Oysters, like wine, are defined by terroir: what you taste is a specific bay's seawater. These prints use text to describe the action of eating. This series was handset from woodblock type on a vintage Vandercook letterpress at The Arm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a haven for this rapidly disappearing craft. The custom Verona pink-colored ink represents the interior of oyster shells. The Hamilton Gothic (also known as Franklin Gothic) type, from the 1920s, was originally owned by the Baltimore Police Department. It is a clean, honest face for everyday use. Oysters were once the everyman's food, eaten by rich and poor alike—Gothic symbolizes this spirit.
Michelle Vaughan | See All Editions
Michelle Vaughan is a visual artist and received her BFA at UCLA in 1994. She was born in 1971 in Anaheim, California and lives in New York City. In addition to her studio work, she has produced temporary installations in public settings surrounding topics such as science, history and politics. Solo shows have been exhibited at Dumbo Art Center and the South Street Seaport, where she was awarded fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation of the Arts for Sea Warriors: A Public Art Project, in 2009. She is currently producing a portrait series on the Spanish Habsburgs.