Mary Ellen Carroll
Julio Cesar Morales
Max La Riviere-Hedrick
National Bitter Melon Council
Barbara T. Smith
Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art. The exhibition is anchored by a presentation of objects and documentary material that reveals the many different ways artists have employed meals. The gallery presentation chronicles one-time performances and decades-old participatory pieces through displays that mix food, photography, video, printed material, installation work, paintings, drawings, and archival material.
curated by Stephanie Smith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Smart Museum of Art
Since the 1930s, numerous artists have used the simple act of sharing food and drink to advance aesthetic goals and to foster critical engagement with the culture of their moment. These artist-orchestrated meals can offer a radical form of hospitality that punctures everyday experience, using the meal as a means to shift perceptions and spark encounters that aren't always possible in a fast-moving and segmented society.
Feast surveys this practice for the first time, presenting the work of more than thirty artists and artist groups who have transformed the shared meal into a compelling artistic medium. The exhibition examines the history of the artist-orchestrated meal, assessing its roots in early-twentieth century European avant-garde art, its development over the past decades within Western art, and its current global ubiquity. Through a presentation within the Smart Museum and new commissions in public spaces, the exhibition will introduce new artists and contextualize their work in relation to other influential artists, from the Italian Futurists and Gordon Matta-Clark to Marina Abramović and Rirkrit Tiravanija. Feast addresses the radical hospitality embodied by these artists and the social, commercial, and political structures that surround the experience of eating together.
Feast includes art, documentary materials, and new public projects by Marina Abramović and Ulay, Sonja Alhäuser, Mary Ellen Carroll, Fallen Fruit, Theaster Gates, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, InCUBATE, The Italian Futurists, Mella Jaarsma, Alison Knowles, Suzanne Lacy, Lee Mingwei, Laura Letinsky, Tom Marioni, Gordon Matta-Clark, Mildred's Lane, Julio César Morales and Max La Rivière-Hedrick, motiroti, National Bitter Melon Council, Ana Prvacki, Sudsiri Pui-Ock, Michael Rakowitz, Ayman Ramadan, Red76, David Robbins, Allen Ruppersberg, Bonnie Sherk, Barbara T. Smith, Daniel Spoerri, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and others.
The exhibition is anchored by a presentation of objects and documentary material at the Smart Museum of Art that reveals the many different ways artists have employed meals to advance individual aesthetic goals. The gallery presentation chronicles one-time performances and decades-old participatory pieces through displays that mix food, photography, video, printed material, installation work, paintings, drawings, and archival material. Several pieces have not been seen by the public in decades, and the exhibition is designed in part with an eye toward their long-term preservation.
The earliest material is associated with the Italian Futurists and their founder F.T. Marinetti, who broke open the possibility that food and meals could be used not only as subject matters for art—in traditional still life paintings, or depictions of the Last Supper—but also as the art itself. In the 1960s and 1970s, many artists set aside conventional object-making in favor of idea- and performance-based work, including seminal pieces that involved eating and drinking. By the 1990s, the artist-orchestrated meal became a foundational element of the relational and interactive modes of contemporary art-making. These later examples of social and critical feasts reveal that meal-based projects are no longer limited to the West, but rather have become a truly global practice in art.
New commissions and other highlights
In addition to the gallery presentation, Feast invites the active participation of the public and others through a series of meals, salons, and other projects. These take place within the Smart and across Chicago. Lotteries will be held to choose at random the guests for select projects, some are by invitation only, and still others are ongoing or drop-in events open to all.
Image: Michael Rakowitz, detail of working sketch for Enemy Kitchen (Food Truck), Courtesy of the artist and Lombard-Freid Projects
C.J. Lind at 773.702.0176, email@example.com
Opening Reception Wednesday, February 15, 7:30–9 p.m.
Celebrate the public opening of Feast. The evening features beer and conversation with conceptual artist Tom Marioni, a performance by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, and the debut of Michael Rakowitz’s Enemy Kitchen (Food Truck).
Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago
5550 South Greenwood Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60637
Tuesday–Friday 10 am–4 pm
Thursday 10 am–8 pm
Saturday and Sunday 11 am–5 pm