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Freshly Picked! Ian Baguskas’s Ugly Peach

Ugly Peach by Ian Baguskas
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($1200) 

If awkward elegance is a thing, our new edition from Ian Baguskas totally nails it. We’re positively atingle over this bright, asymmetrical beaut. That telltale golden fuzz is undeniably inviting, flirtatiously blushing on the frontmost side. This fruit’s funny little protuberance juts out confidently and inquisitively. The turquoise background Baguskas selected perfectly complements our center of attention, which casts an appealing egg-like shadow. What’s not to love? Frankly, this peach is all the more excellent a muse for its perceived “flaws”.

All beguilement aside, the awful truth about this Ugly Peach is that it’s unfit for sale. The USDA requires a peach be “well-formed”, with the customary shape, color and size, and without notable irregularities. The fruit may not be “badly decidedly deformed that its appearance is seriously affected”. Alas, our quirky, unconventional friend doesn’t fit the bill. By industry standards this peach would be bound for the garbage bin, discarded for its atypical appearance. 

Of course, it’s likely just as luscious, flavorful, sweet and compelling as any perfectly round peach—its unorthodox shape has nothing to do with its nutritional value, texture or taste. Still, most “ugly” fruits and vegetables like this will never be eaten.

This photograph belongs to a larger series in which Baguskas draws us face to face with missed opportunity. In part, he calls our attention to the profound food waste (and water, energy and land waste in its wake) that the Ugly Food Movement addresses. But he also points us to waste of a more aesthetic genre. Baguskas’s Ugly Peach charms us immediately, dexterously leading us to reconsider our definition of beauty. It’s a fitting segue for the artist, whose work excels at exploring our weird relationship with the environment and nature.

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200