The following is from an article - "Out of the Frying Pan, Into The Galleries" by David Galloway - from the February 14, 2004 issue of the International Herald Tribune:
The most seminal event of the early years was clearly the "New Realists" show at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York in 1962. There a new generation of artists, dubbed the "Slice of Cake School" by Time magazine, paraded its fascination with the language of the supermarket.
Roy Lichtenstein's "Refrigerator" provided the prologue, followed by Wayne Thiebaud's "Salad, Sandwiches and Dessert," Claes Oldenburg's plaster roasts and hotdogs, Andy Warhol's "200 Campbell's Soup Cans" and numerous other works dedicated to the American way of food. An assemblage by Robert Indiana bore the stenciled injunction: "EAT."
The pioneering Janis show also included works by such European "realists" as Daniel Spoerri, whose eccentric compositions conserved the remains of meals precisely as they appeared when the guests departed, down to the last cigarette butt and gravy-smeared plate.
It might be argued that while most of the Americans were celebrating the neon-bright side of the eating experience, their European counterparts were brooding over decay. Spoerri, who later opened the Eat Art Gallery in Dusseldorf, attributed that focus to postwar food shortages, citing his own memories of standing in line for hours in his native Romania to secure a clammy loaf of cornbread. Similar autobiographical elements informed Joseph Beuys's use of fat, cheese, chocolate, fishbones and animal skins in his installations.