Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art

Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art

September 7—December 7, 2013

Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston is proud to host Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art from September 7 to December 7, 2013, with a public opening and artists remarks on September 6, 2013 at 7:00pm. The exhibition defines an important new category of contemporary artistic practice – the artist-orchestrated meal. Feast surveys this practice for the first time, assessing its roots in early-twentieth century European avant-garde art, its development over the past five decades within Western art, and its current global ubiquity. Originally organized by the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, the presentation at Blaffer Art Museum has been expanded to include artist of relevance to the local context.

Feast in Houston features more than thirty artists and artist collectives through two interrelated components: a gallery presentation and participatory, performative projects. Feast includes art, documentary materials, and new public projects by Marina Abramović and Ulay, Sonja Alhäuser, Miguel Amat, Mary Ellen Carroll, Mary Evans, Fallen Fruit, Theaster Gates, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, InCUBATE, The Italian Futurists, Mella Jaarsma, Alison Knowles, Suzanne Lacy, Gabriel Martinez, Lynne McCabe, 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, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

During the run of the exhibition, audience participation is invited through a series of performances including Ana Prvacki’s The Greeting Committee, Lee Mingwei’s The Dining Project, and Tom Marioni’s salon The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art. Mary Ellen Carroll will continue her ongoing project Itinerant Gastronomy with a project entitled Ground Control. Los Angeles based Fallen Fruit will hold Neighborhood Infusion and organize a Lemonade Stand at the museum. Minneapolis-based collective Red 76, will organize Occupy Yr. Home in which participants eat, drink, and discuss what it means to “occupy” the most private spaces of our own kitchen tables; and Theaster Gates will host a dinner and a public talk and performance with the Black Monks of Mississippi, an experimental music ensemble of Chicago-based vocalists and musicians founded in 2008.

As Feast’s hospitable host, Blaffer has added four commissioned works to the exhibition in order to further accommodate the project in our Houston site. In Untitled (territory) Gabriel Martinez attempts to map Houston from a roving and unfixed perspective and invites visitors to join him on a series of taco excursions to sample the diverse offerings around the city while discussing Houston’s complex history of urban planning. Lynne McCabe presents Vexations, an ongoing work exploring the gendered dynamics of durational performance and hospitality. The title refers to John Cage’s 1963 adaptation of Erik Satie’s musical score Vexations, in which Cage followed Satie’s instruction to play the work 840 times over several hours. Recognizing the improbable demands of such a task, McCabe extends the work over multiple years. She invites women guests to her home to play Vexations for the amount of time it takes the artist to prepare dinner, scoring the rhythms of the domestic everyday. In Mary Evans’s ongoing work Gingerbread, the Nigerian-born, London-based artist probes what can be radical about hospitality. Evans interrogates the history of slavery through food by inviting guests to consider ingredients with specific trans-Atlantic histories in her homemade cookies – molasses, sugar, and ginger. Miguel Amat taps into the complex and sometimes problematic dynamics of hospitality which shares a common etymological root with hostility. By definition, hospitality is cloaked in an aura of danger and uncertainty that relates a stranger to the host through the act of eating. In Western philosophical tradition, hospitality is also linked to the notion of territory. In Ghas I, Amat explores these implicit relationships as they relate to contemporary warfare.

Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art is organized by the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Generous major support has also been provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Chicago Community Trust, Helen Zell, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Richard and Mary L. Gray Foundation, the University of Chicago’s Arts Council, and Janis Kanter and Tom McCormick.

The presentation of the exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum is made possible, in part, by The Cecil Amelia Blaffer von Furstenberg Endowment for Exhibitions and Programs, the Houston Endowment, Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Jo and Jim Furr Exhibition Endowment at Blaffer Art Museum, The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, IKEA, KUHF-FM, Sallie Morian and Mike Clark, the Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Monthly, Uchi Restaurant and Whole Foods. Community and campus partners include the Center for Public History, Conrad R. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the Council of Ethnic Organizations, the Student Program Board, and Urban Harvest. Educational outreach programs are made possible by Dorothy C. Sumner, the Kristin Saleri Art Foundation, Quantum Reservoir Impact and the Kinder Morgan Foundation. Feast is supported through the Innovation Grants program of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts which is funded in part by the Houston Endowment, Inc.


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