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Nature Matching System

Tattfoo Tan


The Nature Matching System (NMS) is an expansive mural comprised of a grid of rectangles, with each rectangle representing a Pantone® color that has been matched to the shade of a fruit or vegetable.

Located: Main and Upper Levels

Key Materials: vinyl photo mural

Click here to view Tattfoo's other art installation, S.O.S. 5p.m. West.

What is it?

Eat your daily dose of color!

The focus on the color of food comes from artist Tattfoo Tan’s intention of getting people to eat more nutritious meals. The compounds responsible for the color in many natural foods (phytonutrients) contain essential vitamins and are an important part of a healthy diet. Eating a colorful meal is an easy and fun way to consume a vitamin-rich meal. The colorful mural covers the walls on two floors of the museum, consisting of 58 colors representing 58 different fruits and vegetables that are commonly found in grocery stores and farmers markets.

What will I do when I get there?

  • Pick a color and list all the fruits and vegetables that exist in that color.
  • Can you count all of the colors?
  • What colors were in your last meal? Did you get your daily dose of color?
  • Try the activity at the Art Buffet adjacent to the artwork on the Museum’s Upper Level.

Who made this?

Tattfoo Tan is a New York-based artist, who playfully combines food and art to encourage audiences to live healthier and more environmentally sustainable lives. His work involves audience participation so that the making of art becomes a shared experience. Tattfoo designs his works to be transitory and conceptual in nature while also being engaging and educational. In regards to combining art and food in his work, Tattfoo says, “art sometimes can be intimidating; in contrast, we are very comfortable with food. If we can use food as a medium and infuse it with art, then that would be the perfect recipe.”

In 2010, Tattfoo was awarded the Annual Award for Excellence in Design for a public design commission for the City of New York. Currently working in Staten Island, NY, he has had solo exhibitions at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, Peng Gallery in Philadelphia and Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York and participated in group exhibitions at institutions such as Parsons The New School for Design in New York and Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia.

Artist Website:

What can I do at home?

To extend your museum experience, try the following activities at home.

Creative Action

  • At your next meal, identify the different colors of food you eat and arrange and count the number of different colors. Make a list of the colors on your plate for dinner, keep track for a week. See what colors you consume the most, the least.
  • Next time you go to the grocery store, select fresh fruit and vegetables by color. See how many colors you can find.  
  • Can you eat a rainbow? To encourage getting a lot of healthy phytonutrients into your diet, work together to cook up a colorful meal.


  • Look up phytonutrients in books or on the Internet and find out how these natural chemicals found in plants (fruit and vegetables) help us stay healthy.