In Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, the central character known simply as the Narrator recounts how the taste of a madeleine prompted a nostalgic recollection of his boyhood. It seems peanut butter and jelly serves a similar function for artist Jessica Olah.
Olah, who lives in Ditmas Park, estimates that her mother made 2,340 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for her school lunch between 1990 and 2004. That’s admittedly a lot, and enough of reason, apparently, for Olah to undertake an effort that would have most likely puzzled Proust: Making the same number of sandwiches in five days. It's an exercise in empathy. Her project, which kicked off on Wednesday, is currently underway at Special on C, a self-styled “community bodega for creative expression” in a former grocery on E 12th Street and Avenue C.
Olah managed to raise $3,500 to create her installation slash performance art piece, because, well, that many sandwiches takes a lot of bread (organic multigrain, bien sûr), peanut butter and jelly, not to mention labor. The artist is planning to donate the sandwiches to the Bowery Mission. If you’re interested in cheering Olah on, she’ll be sharing the memories through the weekend from 10am to 6pm.