Articles | ArtSlant https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/show en-us 40 The Taste Issue: An Introduction <p><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Table of Contents:</strong></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; font-family: helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; line-height: 16px; text-align: justify;"><a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/rackroom/4354-sean-raspet">The Matter of Molecular Practice: Sean Raspet</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; text-align: justify;">Joel Kuennen</span></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; font-family: helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; line-height: 16px; text-align: justify;"><a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/46080" target="_blank">Ferran Adri&agrave; Unpacks the Tools of Creativity</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; text-align: justify;">Edo Dijksterhuis</span></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; font-family: helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; line-height: 16px; text-align: justify;"><a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/46110" target="_blank">Taste With the Body and Without</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; text-align: justify;">Zachary Cahill</span></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; font-family: helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; line-height: 16px; text-align: justify;"><a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.artslant.com/ber/articles/show/46086" target="_blank">Squeezing Social Commentary into a Luxury Beverage</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: medium; text-align: justify;">Nadja Sayej</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Made hickory smoked salmon with rose and squid ink rice tonight... :)&rdquo;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> This is an email sign off I received from my fellow editor, Joel Kuennen, the other day. Touching base about what we&rsquo;ve been making and eating is not uncommon for us; before taking on the challenges of running an art website, in fact, Joel was a sous chef. Amidst meetings about editorial strategy and publication schedules, we swap recipes for preserved lemons, and I implore him to send me transatlantic care packages of that lavender hot sauce he&rsquo;s been fermenting (thanks, Joel&mdash;it&rsquo;s about time for another batch!). </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That we are publishing a special edition on food&mdash;on taste&mdash;feels natural and overdue.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The bonds between food and the arts are far too many to cover in this space. Just last week Laure Prouvost shared a fantastical meditation in <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/17/laure-prouvost-my-last-supper-artist-surreal-wild-pig-hunting" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a> on her ideal &ldquo;Last Supper,&rdquo; imagining an epic meal involving pineapple hats, chasing pigs, and foraging for berries with her grandparents. It&rsquo;s easy to envisage the scene realized in a forthcoming video installation from the Turner Prize-winner. The same day, a continent away, Bay Area chefs started serving up signature pork belly dishes in <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.asianart.org/regular/priceless-pork-belly-plated" target="_blank">a month-long tribute</a> to the &ldquo;meat-shaped stone,&rdquo; a priceless Qing Dynasty sculpture that, as advertised, is a piece of jasper carved to look like a hunk of pork belly. On loan from Taipei, the 19th century royal treasure is currently on view at San Francisco&rsquo;s Asian Art Museum. For centuries, artists have looked to the kitchen for nourishment and inspiration&mdash;these days, chefs are looking back. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In preparation for The Taste Issue, I did some art-inspired cooking myself, getting my hands on the <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://uk.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/studio-olafur-eliasson-the-kitchen-9780714871110/" target="_blank">new cookbook</a> from the studio of Olafur Eliasson. More than a collection of recipes, the book is a testament to the intimate relationships between nourishment, community, ecology, labor, and creativity. In the introduction, iconic Berkeley chef Alice Waters describes the studio as an &ldquo;organism.&rdquo; It is a social being, nourished literally and creatively by the communal rituals of dining. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Studio Olafur Eliasson has some 90 members, including dedicated kitchen staff, who prepare meals for dozens of people daily. Reading the cookbook, I couldn&rsquo;t help but think it represented a different reality entirely from the working and dining conditions of 99 percent of artists. Last November <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/44431" target="_blank">I profiled</a> <em>Studio Cooking</em>, a residency in which Los Angeles artists Arden Surdam and Meghan Gordon programmed a series of &ldquo;meal events&rdquo; to interrogate what artists eat while they&rsquo;re working. Their inspiration? A vision of the artist cooking in her studio with little more than a rice cooker and a hot plate. When I caught up with the artists recently, Gordon reflected on the project: &ldquo;By choosing to work with food, <em>Studio Cooking</em> was looking for a universal expression of artist labor&mdash;what work do we do as artists that cumulatively adds up to the art we make in its final form?&rdquo; </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">She went on, &ldquo;Everyone has to eat to continue making work, but some cook, some buy fast food, some share this task communally, some can pay others to prepare elaborate meals&hellip; these are very personal and political actions, which can provide a possible context for an artist&rsquo;s work.&rdquo; From Studio Olafur Eliasson to <em>Studio Cooking</em>, we find this organism, at once creating and consuming, its tentacles reaching out and touching on our bodies, our work, our politics, our environment. &ldquo;When we cook, we both use 
the world and produce it at the same time,&rdquo; writes Eliasson. </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: large;">⁂</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In The Taste Issue, writers dig in, ruminating on the big picture, and also the microscopic one. Nadja Sayej profiles a Berlin Biennale project where visitors are literally ingesting artwork. Artist Debora Delmar Corp.&rsquo;s juice bar, MINT, speaks not only to the influences of celebrities and lifestyle branding on taste, but also to the global economic contexts embodied in the trendy products we consume. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Given these examples, you&rsquo;d think taste is all relational aesthetics and social practice. But for some, like the founder of Soylent&mdash;a food product designed to be a nutritionally complete meal in beverage form&mdash;eating and cooking are perfunctory tasks. Joel Kuennen chats with artist Sean Raspet, who was brought on as a &ldquo;taste creator&rdquo; for the company. Raspet zooms way in, transforming food, and flavors, on a molecular level, before widening back out to consider the product&rsquo;s implications from commercial and environmental perspectives. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Artists and chefs sit across a narrow table: As Debora Delmar Corp. and Sean Raspet make food as art, some chefs make art with food. Ferran Adri&agrave; is the only chef to have participated in Documenta, and he currently has an exhibition about his work and legacy. Edo Dijksterhuis gets some face time with the legendary Catalan chef, who reaches across culinary boundaries, describing his interdisciplinary project to map the elements of gastronomic creativity. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Of course taste is not just about what we eat, but what we see, feel, judge, experience. To round out the issue, Zachary Cahill chews on contemporary manifestations of taste, wondering whether our idiosyncrasies and aesthetic preferences reflect not only our social hierarchies, but our humanity, our very physical, embodied being. Can taste connect rather than isolate us? </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: large;">⁂</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> As I was preparing &ldquo;Tomato Soup with Cumin and Figs&rdquo; from the Eliasson studio cookbook, some 3,400 miles away Joel was working on the gif for this issue. We chatted via Skype and I watched as he suspended a camera above his stovetop. Affixed to the makeshift rigging, illuminating the frying pan, was a small yellow light: a <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #00ced1;" href="https://littlesun.com/" target="_blank">Little Sun</a> solar lamp, made by Studio Olafur Eliasson. We laughed, hysterically, as he smashed eggs on the skillet, his failed experiments becoming breakfast. The sun, and our tastes, bringing us together.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160622150712-Screen_Shot_2016-06-20_at_4.57.02_PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Editor Joel Kuennen preparing to smash eggs.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a></span></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Gif by Joel Kuennen)</span></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 10:27:56 -0700 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Taste With the Body and Without <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>People are stupid.</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Don&rsquo;t misunderstand me: People are stupid in the ways that I am stupid. We are stupid in common: over-worked, over-tired, over-extended&mdash;distracted by 21st century life's whizzing communications, the decentralized self, and efforts to keep the barricades from being completely overrun by life&rsquo;s ghoulish troubles. This being so, we possess precious little attention left to really know what someone's talking about who is actually sitting across the table from us or who just emailed us that text I/they want you/me to read or visit that exhibition we/they labored over. I bet even as you read this you've got a couple of texts messages and/or emails that are burning in your mental inbox. Maybe it's word back from the grant proposal you wrote five months ago, maybe it's someone you thought would never write you back (but maybe they did!).</span></p> <table width="400" align="right"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding: 10px;"> <p style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large; color: #1f1f1f;"><span style="font-size: x-large;"><em>We are stupid because we are lonely and estranged.<br /></em></span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We are stupid because we are lonely and estranged. It's nothing personal, dear friend seated across from me. But of course that's just the problem: it <em>is</em> personal&mdash;intensely so. It&rsquo;s personal and human. There is just no way I could ever really tell you how fucked my interior world is right now. Or: I could, but the terror of real-time rejection&mdash;the "no one cares about your problems" tough love reply&mdash;sends us scurrying back into our technological hole in the ground.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">So we are stupid and it may very well be the case that we are stupid because our gizmos are hooking into our loneliness, self-doubt, and exploiting our rampant fears of rejection. Oh to be so Holy that we felt God or the spirits swirling in and around us so much that we did not crave that type of connection. But this spiritual longing otherwise subtle in previous generations may have taken its crude form today in flat screens, digital circuits, and the like. Still, I don't want to lodge yet another harangue against the internet and technology... How can I while typing this out on one of those gizmos, when I am myself a shameless scroller and poster to the much hated Facebook?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Instead, I'd like to ask what our shared stupor might mean for notions of taste. Given the choice between digital delirium and the chance to be a kind of Hume-ian/Kantian person of taste...I am pretty sure I'd elect for the former. Most of us have, because those Enlightenment era philosophers are, well, pretty embarrassing in many respects. Even if you grant <a href="http://www.iep.utm.edu/kantaest/" target="_blank">Immanuel Kant's project</a> its desire to create an aesthetic commons some modicum of cultural edification, it&rsquo;s difficult to get past some of his notions of universality, beauty, disinterestedness, and pleasure. Pierre Bourdieu, while obviously useful for identifying some of the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Bourdieu#Bourdieu.27s_theory_of_class_distinction">key problems of class structure</a> in the field of cultural production, kind of leaves us a little cold and alienated. I mean, we do share interests after all. Cultural life turns out to be more than can be explained by a sociologist&rsquo;s charts and graphs. I find that Carl Wilson's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Talk-About-Love-People/dp/1441166777" target="_blank"><em>Let's Talk About Love</em></a>&nbsp;is pretty instructive in breaking down the theoretical and aesthetic implications of taste. Wilson makes some penetrating insights into the phenomena of &ldquo;cool,&rdquo; which he describes as striking a fine balance between economic capital (money), social capital (connections), and cultural capital (knowledge). Still, even in Wilson's thinking, taste tends to be in conversation with something like power relations that are grounded in aesthetics.</span></p> <table width="400" align="left"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding: 10px;"> <p style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large; color: #1f1f1f;"><span style="font-size: x-large;"><em>Taste marks our individuality.<br /></em></span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Giorgio Agamben&rsquo;s thoughts on the subject of taste open new paths for thinking about what taste could mean without &ldquo;taste-making&rdquo;&mdash;how it could be a zone for thinking about what makes us human. After describing a series of entries in a newspaper's personal ads, where people seek other people through brief descriptions about their hobbies and tastes, Agamben writes:</span></p> <blockquote style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the attempt to define oneself through one&rsquo;s hobbies, there comes to light in all its problematicity the relation between singularity, its tastes, and its inclinations. The most idiosyncratic aspect of everyone, their tastes, the fact that they like coffee granita, the sea at summertime, this certain shape of lips, this certain smell, but also the paintings of the late Titian so much&mdash;all this seems to safeguard its secret in the most impenetrable and insignificant way. It is necessary to decisively subtract tastes from the aesthetic dimension and rediscover their ontological char&shy;acter, in order to find in them something like a new ethical territory. It is not a matter of attributes or properties of a subject who judges but of the mode in which each person, in losing himself as subject, constitutes-himself as form-of-life. The secret of taste is what form-of-life must solve, has always already solved and displayed&mdash;just as gestures betray and, at the same time, absolve character.&nbsp; (Agamben, "<a href="http://www.e-flux.com/journal/toward-an-ontology-of-style/" target="_blank">Toward an Ontology of Style</a>," <em>The Use of Bodies</em>, 231)</span></blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As I understand it, Agamben is saying that taste marks our individuality. In a sense, like our quirky habits, what we are attracted to reveals something about who we are as human beings. Obvious enough, you say, but to think about taste as a way of accounting for humanity instead of locking us into a cultural hierarchy runs counter to notions of taste-making and returns taste back to its almost animal nature. We might even think of his formulation of taste as a practice of popular distinction. By popular distinction I only mean the ability to recognize particularity without resorting to social climbing of ladders. Rather than taste being about judgment, Agamben&rsquo;s embodied formulation of taste could lead to the discovery of particularity and that type of discovery might prompt something like a connection that could withstand the onslaught of distraction I ruminated on earlier.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Let&rsquo;s talk about a particularity then. Let's talk about taste. Let's talk about something real. Let's talk about art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="7"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/-IpHm5kZ8l/" target="_blank">#newcapital #inherencies #Rebeccabeachy</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A photo posted by New Capital (@newcapitalprojects) on Nov 15, 2015 at 10:06pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Let's talk about an alternative space in Chicago. Lets talk about the art of <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/117742-rebecca-beachy" target="_blank">Rebecca Beachy</a> and her project&nbsp;<em>Inherencies</em>&nbsp;at New Capital last fall. It was a show that actually left a bad taste in my mouth. Which might sound like a criticism but it's not. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Let me explain. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On first viewing I didn't &ldquo;like&rdquo; the exhibition&mdash;or to be honest, it bummed me out. The artist had an assortment of animal bones in various material states&mdash;boiled and semi-raw, configured like so many decrepit minimalist sculptures. Think Donald Judd in the bone-yard. The show also had an artist-built subterranean level which you could enter through a hole that had been cut in the floor.&nbsp;Underground there were standing pools of water, dimly lit alters with animal bones... the whole show had a sephlucar vibe; invoking: death, rot, and the bodily. Mourning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="7"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/-IpRacEZ8x/" target="_blank">#Rebeccabeachy #inherencies #newcapital</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A photo posted by New Capital (@newcapitalprojects) on Nov 15, 2015 at 10:08pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">It was not an easy show. But more than most, it was art that I had to contend with and ask myself: why did this trouble me so? And what did it mean that it left such a bad taste in my mouth? These were questions that nagged at me for a while and I wondered...how would I have reacted to this exhibition if it had not been installed in a marginal old warehouse building, but in a shiny museum space like the MCA Chicago... My sense was that taste and convention were skewing my reading of the work...and that my answer to my speculative "what if" was: Rebecca Beachy's exhibition was one of the most absorbing shows in Chicago last year and deeply resonant with the work of famed Colombian artist <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/39512-doris-salcedo" target="_blank">Doris Salcedo</a>, whose work was also exhibited <a href="http://www.artslant.com/chi/articles/show/42160" target="_blank">at the MCA</a> last year and is likewise rooted in the bodily and funerary while dealing with political atrocities of Colombia. Salcedo's work&nbsp;is hard not to take seriously simply because of the authorship of the artist and the institutions that host it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160621010209-117_Salecedo_DIG-web.jpg" alt="" width="700" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Doris Salcedo, <em>A Flor de Piel</em>, 2014, Rose petals and thread,&nbsp;445 &times; 252 in.,&nbsp;Installation view at Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014.&nbsp;<br />Courtesy of the artist and <a href="http://www3.mcachicago.org/2015/salcedo/index.html" target="_blank">MCA Chicago</a>.&nbsp;Photo: Kazuhiro Uchida<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Context effects taste.</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Seeing this condition from another angle, I am also reminded of <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/26085-on-kawara" target="_blank">On Kawara</a>&rsquo;s tour de force retrospective, <em><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/368674-silence" target="_blank">Silence</a>,</em> at the Guggenheim in New York in early 2015. The exhibition was a revelation and allowed me to connect with the artist in a whole other way that I think very much has to do with the type of taste Agamben is describing. Until the Guggenheim exhibition I only really understood On Kawara&rsquo;s work in relationship to the conceptual art canon, i.e. he was an &ldquo;important&rdquo; artist as portrayed in countless books, magazines, and internet articles. What I encountered in the Guggenheim was a life. This &ldquo;form-of-life&rdquo;&nbsp;(to borrow Agamben&rsquo;s phrase) struck me on a visceral level. Kawara&rsquo;s work is a far cry from the chilly conceptualist that I had been given to understand. Accounting for everyday, the <em>I Am Still Alive</em> telegrams, the hand-painted Date Paintings, and numerous other works, registered something more than the personal. In aggregate they reflected back a life. A life, moreover, that (at least for this viewer) could only begin to come into focus in this particular exhibition.&nbsp;Taste then might be rethought of as a phenomena that resolutely places us in the world&mdash;not as universal subjects who adjudicate culture but as particular individuals who literally have a taste for it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160621010634-onkawara_09_IASA.jpg" alt="" width="700" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">On Kawara,&nbsp;<em>Telegram to Paula Cooper</em>, December 10, 1975.&nbsp;From&nbsp;<em>I Am Still Alive</em>, 1970&ndash;2000.&nbsp;5&thinsp;1/2 &times; 8&thinsp;3/8 inches,&nbsp;Collection of Paula Cooper.&nbsp;&copy; On Kawara. Photo: Courtesy Phaidon and the&nbsp;<a href="http://exhibitions.guggenheim.org/onkawara/04/15" target="_blank">Guggenheim</a><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Does the internet have a taste?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Okay, so maybe a slight harangue about technology after all... Our slick gadgets and the hyper-capitalism that peddles them ad nauseam are sucking the life out of life. &ldquo;Disinterested,&rdquo; they are helping render embodied taste obsolete. The scary thing is&mdash;worse than death, rot, and bad taste&mdash;should we loose our sense of taste we very may well lose any real connection to each other...and while technology may offer us a kind of freaky-deaky disembodied cyborg immortality that might allow us a break from being stuck in our bodies and to float free through the global corporatized ether, we might inadvertently trade away bodily tastes altogether, both good and bad, for a life without life.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/208914-zachary-cahill?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Zachary Cahill</a>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Zachary Cahill is an artist that lives and works in Chicago.</em><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: On Kawara. <em>Telegram to Sol LeWitt</em>, February 5, 1970. From I Am Still Alive, 1970&ndash;2000. Telegram. LeWitt Collection, Chester, Connecticut.&nbsp;)</span></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:55:42 -0700 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list From Kitchen to Gallery, Ferran Adrià Unpacks the Tools of Creativity <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In a culinary world populated by stars, Ferran Adri&agrave; is the uncontested sun, the center of the universe. The Catalan chef who started off as a dishwasher at Barcelona&rsquo;s Hotel Playafels, joined the El Bulli kitchen staff at 22 and only eighteen months later became head chef. From 1994 onwards, the year the restaurant received a substantial investment, El Bulli&rsquo;s reputation as a place for experimentation grew. It held three Michelin stars and ranked first in the <a href="http://www.theworlds50best.com/">World&rsquo;s 50 Best Restaurants</a>&nbsp;list for a record five years.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The list of firsts accomplished by Adri&agrave; is extensive and varied&mdash;both in the kitchen and out. Among them, he is the only chef to have ever been invited by the art institution Documenta to be <a href="http://www.elbulli.com/historia/index.php?lang=en&amp;seccion=7&amp;subseccion=9">part of the show</a>. The run of the 2007 edition saw an El Bulli outpost in Kassel&mdash;serving two guests per night&mdash;in a project that touched on the subjects of site-specificity and &ldquo;the artistic disciplines which can not be inside a museum.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615142459-019._Portretfoto_Ferran_AdriaJPG.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Ferran Adri&agrave;, courtesy of <a href="http://www.marres.org/nl/archive/chef-kok-el-bulli-ferran-adria-komt-naar-nederland/" target="_blank">Marres</a>, Maastricht.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Despite recognition on one of the art world&rsquo;s biggest stages, Adri&agrave; doesn&rsquo;t consider himself an artist&mdash;though his creative processes, production techniques, and even the language surrounding his work share some affinities. His brand of cooking is often labeled &ldquo;molecular gastronomy,&rdquo; although Adri&agrave; himself prefers &ldquo;deconstructivist gastronomy.&rdquo; He dissects foodstuffs and processes them to change their texture, taste, or both, then combines them in innovative and unexpected ways. He is famous for using scientific and technologically advanced methods, such as freeze-drying ingredients or using dyes. For El Bulli he created no less than 1,846 unique recipes&mdash;often explosive and extreme in taste. Rather than an eating experience, dining at El Bulli was a forty-course adventure at the frontiers of culinary sensation. One of his signature dishes, the &ldquo;Spherical Olive,&rdquo; or liquid olive, transports you through worlds both flavor and texture&mdash;oil, salt, sour, solids, liquids&mdash;within a flash of a second.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On July 30, 2011, El Bulli closed its doors. Adri&agrave; subsequently rented a former parking garage in a residential area of Barcelona and started <a href="http://www.elbullifoundation.com/" target="_blank">elBullifoundation</a>, commonly referred to as &ldquo;the lab.&rdquo; Here, the chef works with a large team of young historians, economists, botanists, artists, and other specialists on persevering his legacy. Using a signature method they call Sapiens, the team is mapping and analyzing all elements of gastronomic creativity&mdash;ingredients, tools, processes, and techniques&mdash;in order to uncover and unlock unused potential. It&rsquo;s a rational approach to an intuitive phenomenon, which may also be used to understand other seemingly elusive creative practices.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Once in a while Adri&agrave; presents his findings in the form of exhibitions. <em>Notes on Creativity</em> (through July 7 at Marres, Maastricht) is one such an attempt to visualize gastronomic innovation through artistic means. On the ground floor, drawings represent the phase of conception&mdash;Adri&agrave; famously creates his dishes by drawing them. The first floor displays tools such as specifically designed cutlery and china, illustrating the production process. The dining experience, including restaurant architecture and the organization of staff, forms the end station.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For the first time, a month before opening <em>Notes on Creativity</em>, Adri&agrave; invited a group of international journalists to talk about his current undertakings.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615142955-001.MARRES-_NOTES_ON_CREATIVITY_2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">All images: Installation views of <em>Notes on Creativity</em> at Marres, Maatricht, 2016.&nbsp;<br />All images courtesy of Ferran Adri&agrave; and Marres, Maastricht. Photos:&nbsp;Gert Jan van Rooij</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Edo Dijksterhuis: Why did El Bulli close and what made you decide to switch from being a restaurant chef to running a laboratory?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Ferran Adri&agrave;:</strong> El Bulli never really was a restaurant, not in the traditional sense anyway. It was closed six months a year and during the other six months we were only open at night. To have 75 staff members attending to 50 guests is not very conventional either.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But I guess that after almost 30 years we were getting bored. We were solidly booked years in advance and there was little room for further improvement. The period from 2003 to 2009 marked a peak for the restaurant in terms of appreciation and success, but creatively it wasn&rsquo;t that interesting. And I got the impression people were getting a bit tired of El Bulli. It&rsquo;s like Lionel Messi being awarded his fifth golden football&mdash;hardly any newspaper will pay attention, it&rsquo;s become business as usual. We needed a new challenge, to go back to the situation of the early nineties when we didn&rsquo;t know where we were going.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ED: How did you come up with the idea of a lab?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>FA:</strong> When we decided to close El Bulli my brother Alberto wanted to start something new. <a href="http://www.ticketsbar.es/ca">Tickets</a> in Barcelona is the result&mdash;a new type of gastrobar, offering an informal type of cuisine. I&rsquo;ve participated in it but I didn&rsquo;t want to be caught up in a kind of &ldquo;new El Bulli.&rdquo; I wanted to be free and spend some time reflecting on what we&rsquo;d accomplished so far.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The entire restaurant concept is maybe two hundred years old. El Bulli has been around some 50 years, half of which with me as chef. A lot has been written about El Bulli&mdash;38 books, more than 14,000 pages&mdash;but maybe only ten people in the world truly know what it&rsquo;s about. I wanted to analyze and document how the restaurant worked.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615143436-011.MARRES-_NOTES_ON_CREATIVITY_2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" alt="" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615142818-003.MARRES-_NOTES_ON_CREATIVITY_2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ED: What happens in the laboratory? It doesn&rsquo;t look like a laboratory in the traditional sense, with test tubes and Bunsen burners.</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">FA:</strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> We don&rsquo;t even have a kitchen here! Nobody eats; we only study, order, and analyze the creative process. I aim to decode the language of gastronomy, all aspects of it: the organization of the restaurant, the crockery used, the architecture, the personality of the staff. While running El Bulli I didn&rsquo;t have time to think it through. We were working twelve-hour shifts, like efficient machines doing twenty things simultaneously.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">ED: What is it you hope to uncover by sifting through thirty years of restaurant history?</strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>FA:</strong> Ultimately I want to develop an international gastronomic language, a kind of physiology of taste. By using our self-devised Sapiens method we decode products, foodstuffs, cooking methods, techniques, and kitchen hardware. By identifying and classifying the basic building blocks we can uncover the vast culinary realm no one has ventured into yet. Up till now gastronomy has only realized a fraction of its potential. We intend to publish an extensive study, the Bullipedia, pointing out the possibilities.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615142915-015.MARRES-_NOTES_ON_CREATIVITY_2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ED: How do you present the laboratory&rsquo;s findings?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>FA:</strong> In the first year of operating the elBullifoundation we did an exhibition in Barcelona&mdash;the first in restaurant history. It drew some 700,000 visitors. The audience was enthusiastic but I learned that you can&rsquo;t really exhibit the experiment that was El Bulli. Later, we made a much more accomplished exhibition at <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/313348-notes-on-creativity" target="_blank">the Drawing Center</a> in New York, which showed how dishes were created. In the past four years, our exhibitions&mdash;twelve up till now, the one at Marres being the latest&mdash;have been about the creative process. They include sketches for new dishes, designs for innovative cutlery, co-productions with architects like Norman Foster and Jean Novel.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ED: Are there plans for a more permanent exhibition of the elBullifoundation&rsquo;s findings?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>FA:</strong> Yes, there are. We&rsquo;re now developing a location in Roses, on the coast, and will probably open to the public in 2017. The laboratory serves as a pilot project. At the heart of the museum will be the 1,846 dishes I&rsquo;ve created for El Bulli. It&rsquo;s kind of an autobiographical presentation. I&rsquo;ve also donated my personal archive&mdash;some 15,000 documents&mdash;so in one hundred years people can still understand what went on at El Bulli.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615143151-009.MARRES-_NOTES_ON_CREATIVITY_2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" alt="" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160615143056-007.MARRES-_NOTES_ON_CREATIVITY_2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ED: You were the first&mdash;and only&mdash;chef to have ever been invited to participate in Documenta. You&rsquo;ve had several museum shows and are now planning your own museum. Would you say you&rsquo;re a kind of artist?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>FA:</strong> I don&rsquo;t care for that label. But I do appreciate the way the art world has taught me how to look at things. Thanks to Documenta I could reflect on the concept of creativity for a year and a half. And the conversations with artists have changed my life.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I do think, however, that the contemporary art world is lacking someone as radical as Andy Warhol who can bridge the gap between the inner circle and the larger audience. We need a Steve Jobs of the art world. There is so much talent out there that goes unnoticed.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ED: Using the football analogy one could say you&rsquo;ve been the star player in a world-class team for years and now you&rsquo;re the coach. Would it be possible for you to step onto the pitch again?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>FA:</strong> At forty, Cruijff and Messi can&rsquo;t play anymore. I could be back in the game at fifty or sixty, if I wanted to. But I don&rsquo;t feel the need to play anymore. My job now is to coach, to pass on my knowledge. And it&rsquo;s quite a challenge, maybe the biggest in my career, to make explicit my ideas about creativity. And it&rsquo;s exciting to see if the Sapiens method actually works, and that it&rsquo;s not just some mad man&rsquo;s theory.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Ferran Adri&agrave; for his assistance in making this interview possible.</em></span></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:49:35 -0700 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list