Artist Martha Burgess invited Trestle-Gallery-goers to sit on cakes

‘Let them seat cake!’: Gowanus art gallery hosts so-called ‘Cake Sit,’ butt is it art?

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They had their cake and sat on it, too.

A performance artist hosted a so-called “Cake Sit” at a Gowanus art gallery on March 7. Participants arrived with pastries in tow and promptly flattened them with their backsides. The artist who masterminded the event said those who voluntarily made a mess of their pants were in good company.

“The cake sitters ate cake in a flamboyant manner, joining the likes of Marie Antoinette, Tina Turner, and Beyonce with reckless courage,” artist Martha Burgess said, the latter two names referencing Jay Z’s controversial invocation, in his and Beyonce’s hit duet “Drunk in Love,” of a scene of abusive cake-smushing by Ike Turner’s character in the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

Unmentioned but no doubt on at least one reporter’s mind was Sparky Lyle, the legendary Yankee relief pitcher famous for his locker room habit of sitting on birthday cakes while nude.

The cake-destroying extravaganza was part of Burgess’ larger, ongoing Trestle Gallery exhibit “Performing Audience,” which is supposed to break down the walls between audience, institution, and art, according to Burgess.

For the sit-in, Burgess constructed a cardboard bench inspired by minimalist artist Donald Judd and watched as about 17 cake lovers, or haters, squashed the treats with reckless abandon.

“It was so fun — we had a really enthusiastic response,” gallery manager Mary Negro said.

The artist said she has always enjoyed doing unconventional things with food, especially because she was always warned not to play with it as a kid.

If there is symbolism in the cake sit, it can be seen in the smashed sweets, Burgess said.

“It may be like reading tea leaves,” she said.

“Performing Audience” at Trestle Gallery [168 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus,, (718) 858–9069]. Mon–Fri, 11 am–6 pm, Sat by appointment. Through April 4.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

diehipster from Beating Brents says:
I hate being such an unappreciative of the arts, uncultured, lack-of-whimsy, no-attention needing Mook.

One day..... one day I'll be a Brooklyn Artist and make my Mommy proud.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh deeeeeeed!!!
March 10, 2014, 3:21 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
March 10, 2014, 4:52 pm
bkdude64 says:
Hey diehipster. whats up? So I spotted one of those hipster looking guys you are always talking about in my neighborhood today which is not a common site, the neighborhood being midwood section. So he pretty much stood out like a sore thumb. Now did i look upon him with disdain? Not really, Like the depeche mode song, people are people.

But seriously diehipster why dont you come up with those lists like how to identify a hipster. You cant paint all with a beard as being a hipster now. thats too broad, so i have a little game. like if you have a beard longer than two inches and you are not a Rabbi or amish, you are a hipster. you know? something like that. go with it...
March 10, 2014, 6:41 pm
bkdude64 says:
for those not familair with the depeche mode song here are the lyrics

"People Are People"

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

Help me understand

Now you're punching
And you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fists
March 10, 2014, 6:44 pm
NYPD from NY says:
After the cakes were sat and farted on, they were promptly sold to the local bakery where swampyankee and diehipster ate em' up with cheap coffee!
March 10, 2014, 6:56 pm

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