Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art


Road Food: Exploring the Midwest

One Bite at a Time



Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art
Presented by
Stephanie Smith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator
Sunday, April 29th, 2012
Please arrive early, program begins promptly 11:30 AM
Smart Museum of Art of the University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood Ave
Chicago, Illinois
Street Parking
Limit: 30 people, Reservations expected.


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.


Stephanie Smith joined the Smart Museum as associate curator in 1999 and was named deputy director and chief curator in 2010. She is an affiliate member of the University of Chicago’s Department of Visual Arts and a contributing editor to the journal Afterall. She has held curatorial positions at Rice University, where she earned her MA in art history, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. For her ambitious contemporary exhibitions such as Beyond Green (2005) and Heartland (2009), Smith has been named one of the most visionary curators in Chicago. Smith is curator of Feast.