Chef Mike borrows its composition from Norman Rockwell’s 1942 painting of a Thanksgiving feast, Freedom from Want. In Rockwell’s original, a large turkey is being presented by a proud matriarch to a crowded table of eager guests across several generations. In Juliano-Villani’s Chef Mike, the idyllic meal is interrupted by a microwave which has been programmed to open its door every 10 seconds, flash multi-color LED lights, play, Stereo Love by the Romanian duo Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina and then close again. If Rockwell’s Freedom from Want is an iconic representation of cliché American values centered around a bounty and the wholesome tradition of sharing home-prepared food shared with loved ones; Juliano-Villani’s update offers the moment when that tradition ends.
Courtesy the artist and JTT Gallery

Brooklyn Research worked with Jamian Juliano-Villani to develop the mechanical and electrical solutions for modified microwave. The front panel electronics of the microwave are still fully functional, however for obvious safety reasons the actual microwave mechanics were removed. Modifications included but not limited to automated door and closing operation, direct control of the microwave tray motor, mirrored backing, audio control and amplification, and LED programming.