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Backyard BBQ Staple Turned Art

by Abby Kliensorge

[DOWNLOAD OF THIS IMAGE IS PROHIBITED.] Russell T. Gordon, American, 1936-2013, Hot Dog Bridge, 1974, color lithograph, image: 12 3/16 x 15 3/8 in. (31 x 39 cm), sheet: 17 x 19 3/8 in. (43.2 x 49.2 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gift of Dr. Christopher A. Graf and Janet Graf, his wife, 74.28.12. ©Estate of Russell T. Gordon.

“Hot Dog Bridge,” a print by Russell T. Gordon is an abundantly colorful piece of art providing you with feelings of lightness and happiness when you view it. The artwork is in the style of pop art, which is a movement that began in the 1950s but was incredibly popular in the 1960s (Tate). Pop art can be defined as work that may include visuals of different every day, “normal” objects such as soup cans or even a hot dog as seen in this print (Tate). When imagining pop art, one may think of outrageously colorful pieces of work that stand out amongst other surrounding art, in which “Hot Dog Bridge” does wonderfully. The focus of the hot dog as a bridge within this piece of art exhibits its ability to form a bridge between this seemingly simple piece of food to the art world, bringing along those nostalgic feelings with it.

Hot dogs are a well-known American food that is usually eaten within many households at least once or twice. Specifically, the average American eats around 70 hot dogs per year, adding up to around 20 billion hot dogs being consumed in the USA overall (OptiMonsterDM). The hot dog has come to represent the happiness found at picnics, ball games, and family get togethers. The “dog” has also come to exhibit not only food but also nostalgia and the many happy memories from the past at such gatherings, such as possibly from a Fourth of July barbecue where many loved ones are present, where there’s good food like a hot dog, music, and fireworks, and where everyone is celebrating and having a good time with one another. The painting seems to capture this association as well as the warmth and joy that accompany these events where you’re surrounded by friends and family.

The paintings use of warm blue skies and white fluffy clouds, further enhance this association to happiness. The artwork itself is full of bright colors that could connect to lighthearted feelings or memories. With the bright colors and the use of the hot dog it bridges nostalgia of daily life and happy memories with the art world. Overall, the painting ‘bridges’ a chasm between how a hot dog is not just an average American food but rather how it can become art and provide you with a sense of nostalgia, happiness, or even playfulness.


OptiMonsterDM. “3 Must-Know Facts about Hot Dogs.” The Original George’s Gyros Spot, 2020,

Tate. “Pop Art.” Tate, Tate,


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