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Hot Dog Country

The artful side of Americana on a bun

by CH Editors in Food + Drink on 04 July 2012

Before the sun sets and the fireworks go off, many Americans will celebrate independence by downing a delectable dog—from a Southern Slaw to Maine's Red Snapper, the style of wiener is nearly as varied as the country itself. To celebrate, here are 10 of our favorite works elevating the humble hot dog from the grill to the realm of fine art and design.

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If Don Draper ever wrestled a gator, and if the gator was a hot dog, it would look like muralist Gordon Carlisle's piece "Hot Dog Wrestling in Florida" (2007). The postcard-sized acrylic on collage is available for $325.

Surrealist artist Mel Ramos' "Doggie Dinah: The Lost Painting of 1965 #2" (1995) contrasts the growing trend of consumerism with the exploration of sexuality in 20th-century America. Ramos' Pop art piece of a nude woman lounging on a giant hot dog pays tribute to the country's infatuation with pin-up girls (and processed meat). Ramos' oil on linen goes for $1,250,000 through Art.sy.

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Brooklyn-based illustrator Alex Eben Meyer's literal "dog-eat-dog" print "Hot Dog" reminds us of the simple pleasures—namely, enjoying a hot dog. The illustration on paper is printed using a dry-ink method to make the red, white, and bread come alive. Available from Society6 starting at $18.

Illustrator and hot dog connoisseur Hawk Krall writes and draws for the Hot Dog of The Week column for Serious Eats. More impressive than Krall's expertise on hot dogs are his colorful and gluttonous depictions of his staple food. High-quality, over-sized prints of the regional hot dog paintings are available on his website website from $16-$45. Select original paintings are also available starting at $150.

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Pop-artist Wayne Thiebaud's "Five Hot Dogs" (1961) embraces the tasty treat as a subdued facet of American culture in the oil on canvas paining. Once on exhibit at the Whitney "Five Hot Dogs" is now part of a private collection.

Etsy artist Newdayprints upcycles pages from 19th-century antique books and dictionaries by digitally printing illustrations from English, French, German and American artists. Buyers can chose from a variety of images, the most-desired being the hot dog print for $9.

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London-based illustrator Rob Flowers is known for his playful illustrations bursting with color and action, from cover illustrations for Anorak to article artwork for Attitude Magazine. Flowers' "Hotdog Dudes" features two multicolor dogs that look beat from the heat—or maybe the grill. "Hotdog Dudes" is available from Society6 for $84.

Pop Art icon Roy Lichtenstein dabbled in hot dog imagery as a symbol of early Americana. Lichtenstein's sketch for the enamel on metal tray sold in 2008 for around $200,000. Keep an eye out for the piece's next estimated price at Christie's upcoming auctions.

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French art critic Pierre Restany described Jan Cremer as a globetrotting journalist, writer and planetary reporter, painter and graphic artist, man of letters, theatre and film maker. The Dutch artist's "Hotdog USA #8" abstractly depicts America as a compilation of colors in the form of an upside down, red, white, and blue hot dog. Cremer's piece, which is signed several times by the artist, was sold in Amsterdam for $9,000 in a Post-War and Contemporary Art auction.

Visual artist Fernanda Cohen, who has illustrated the cover of the New York Times Magazine as well as many other magazines and websites, plays with what she calls "universal ideas as I watch them mock my existence." Cohen's "Hot Dog and I", an illustration of an overweight man eating a tiny hot dog, reveals her Argentinian view of American life. The medium-sized print of "Hot Dog and I" is available for $240.

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