Eating and Drinking at the Museum

It is not the museum’s restaurant, it is the exhibition rooms of the Stuttgart Kunstmuseum which, until January 9th (after Dusseldorf, where there was a superb and edifying meal, and Innsbruck), are filled with food: some tasty animations, but above all the works by Daniel Spoerri, Michel Blazy, and Dieter Roth fill the halls of this exhibition  ‘Eat Art’ (eating art, or art to eat?). Many of the pieces play with food (that which my mother formally forbade me to do) either by excess, as with this dune of sugar covering a shopping cart (Thomas Rentmeister), or by the incongruous marriage of two objects, like this Brotteig-objekt by Daniel Spoerri, shoe-sandwiches.

Among the numerous works by Dieter Roth, I found this spice cabinet very beautiful, like a fake, fragrant marble (Gewürzfenster).

But the most interesting pieces are those interested with social acts and comportment around food, whether it is Christian Jankowski who goes hunting with a bow and arrow at the local supermarket ( Die Jagd), or  the documents on restaurants by Daniel Spoerri or Gordon Matta-Clark (Food), or concerning rituals around drink: Dustin Ericksen and Mike Rogers composed (and collect) glasses, cups, goblets, bottles, flasks, and other receptacles (Cups) from which art world celebrities drink: water, tea, beer or vodka. The whole thing is painstakingly documented and catalogued: here is Dan Graham, drinker of dishwater coffee, flanked by Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu and the serial artist Eleanor Antin (who, at Kassel, herself collected the blood of poets, and must have been pleased by this project), who drank nothing but water from sad plastic cups.

There are also those works that kill the appetite, like the video installation Dough by Mika Rottenberg, the video Sailor’s Meat, Sailor’s Delight by Paul McCarthy (steak, sex, and mayonnaise), or, like this furry little animal breathing softly, its skin rising and falling slowly next to the nuts (Atemobjekt 231/99 de Günter Weseler).

After all this food, the only thing missing from this show, the logical and inevitable outcome of this (in)digestion: a Wim Delvoye machine…

Photos by the author. Thomas Rentmeister, Daniel Spoerri, and Günter Weseler being represented by l’ADAGP, images of their works will be removed from this site at the end of the exhibition.

en français

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