Thursday, 14 July 2011

Gordon Matta Clark - Food

Tina Girouard, Carol Goodden, and Gordon Matta-Clark in front of Food, restaurant, New York, 1971
Photograph by Richard Landry, writing by Gordon Matta-Clark.

Food was a restaurant in New York's SoHo, founded by artists Gordon Matta-Clark, Caroline Goodden and Tina Girouard. More a utopian aritsts' commune than a business operation, it's model was essentially economically unsustainable and in this respect it raised questions about how we might measure the success of such a project. Lasting slightly under 3 years Food became the hub of the local arts community, providing meals cooked and served by artists to aritsts, with the preparation and servcice becoming performance.
video still

Food actually pre-dated and possibly influenced many trends that are now so ubiquitous in inner-city eateries that it is hard imagine them as at all radical - locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, an open-plan design allowing customers to see the chefs, a fully-vegetarian menu for 2 nights per week, and Sushi: It was in fact Robert Rauschenberg's assistant Hisachika Takahashi who first served 'raw mackerel with wasabi sauce' at the restaurant.

As well as conventional meals, performance-dinners also took place and artists were invited to prepare and serve the food. Most famous perhaps was Matta-Clark's own Bone Dinner: Oxtail soup, roasted marrow-bone, frogs legs and other boney edibles. For $4 you could eat your meal, the bones were scrubbed and you were given them back on strings to wear home.

Watch the Food video, featuring photography by Robert Frank, here on ubu web.