Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art

Acclaimed exhibition organized by UChicago's Smart Museum of Art digs into intersection between art and eating during stop in Houston

From the 1930 “Manifesto of Futurist Cooking” to artist-led taco excursions in Houston, the special exhibition Feast surveys the history of the artist-orchestrated meal. Organized by the University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art, and on view through December 7, 2013 at the University of Houston's Blaffer Art Museum, the exhibition serves up the work of more than thirty artists and artists groups who have transformed the simple act of sharing food and drink with others into a radical form of hospitality that punctures everyday experience.

“Eating together is a basic element of human culture,” said Stephanie Smith, the exhibition’s organizer and Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Smart Museum of Art. “But it wasn’t until the last few decades that artists began to experiment with the aesthetic potential of the shared meal itself and craft provocative, meal-based projects that foster critical engagement with the world around us.”

Feast, the first exhibition of its kind, surveys the emergence 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. The exhibition introduces new artists and contextualize their work in relation to some of the most influential artists of recent history—from the Italian Futurists and Gordon Matta-Clark to Marina Abramovic and Theaster Gates. It also will present new and restaged projects that will allow the public to experience first hand the ways in which artists are using the meal as a catalyst for artistic expression.

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. The Blaffer is free and open to the public.