Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gordon Matta-Clark. A quick introduction.

Posted by Alicia Butler.

A business establishment where meals or refreshments may be purchased.

Gordon Matta-Clark’s experiment, Food, was more of an artists’ commune than a restaurant as it was not a profitable business. In fact, Matta Clark’s then girlfriend, Caroline Goodden, nearly lost all of her money keeping the establishment afloat. Although not classified as an underground supper club at the time, Food started out as a sometimes legal, sometimes illegal dinner party that was a mixture of art and food. Matta-Clark gathered friends and fellow artists to his suppers, usually located in apartments and lofts in Manhattan. It was apparent that he was primarily an artist, and not a cook by trade. Many of his dishes were inedible and he only served them to create a reaction within the space. Food soon took shape in a defunct Puerto Rican restaurant located on 112 Greene Street in SoHo. Many artists used this building not only as a commune to meet other artists with similar ideas, but as a venue in which to display their talents. They would take turns cooking whatever they knew how to make and served up their creations to customers who rarely paid for their meals and when they did, they paid a pittance for what they ate. The artists that worked at Food were able to reconstruct the idea of the restaurant business in New York and undermine the social structure that inevitably followed the industry. By charging very little (and sometimes nothing at all) Matta-Clark found a way to challenge the formal restaurant structure of the 1970’s. Food was sold in 1974 and was finally shut down in the 80’s.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rirkrit Tiravanija-Life as a Pot

Posted by Alicia Butler.

Rirkrit Tiravanija cooks for thousands of people each year. For free. He has cooked for some of the world’s top curators, art dealers, gallery owners, and museum directors. However, the majority of the population he serves for turns out to be the general public. He has traveled through Spain on a bike he invented that boasts a hotplate attached to the handlebars, cooking up steaming pots of curry and offering it to anyone he passes. He has traveled with his shows “Untitled” and “Untitled (Still)” serving up to 2,700 meals during the course of each of their runs and has not charged a single person. He has been able to sell some of his pots, pans, spoons, and anything else leftover from one of his gallery shows to some of New York’s elite to supplement his income, however, the food remains free.

Tiravanija focuses on an idea I like to call, “life as a pot.” The pot is not only what cooks the food but also what spurs the ideas, emotions, feelings, and anything else that happens to come up in life. The idea is not to focus on the object of the pot itself, but the activity that happens around it.

The pot in his gallery shows often bubbles and hisses with traditional Thai food. It creates a smell, a taste, and a memory. Anyone can go. You might see a blue-collar worker rubbing elbows with a politician and later speaking to the head curator from the Guggenheim. It creates a conversation that may not have existed had Tiravanija not been cooking that day. Tiravanija also believes life is like the pot he uses to cook his food. While he uses food in the gallery to create these experiences he also uses the internet to create websites with a pot-like setting where people can exchange ideas about any aspect of life, thus, “cooking” their own feelings and emotions.

So whereas with enough money you can physically buy the pots, pans, utensils, and leftover spices from one of Tiravanija’s shows, you cannot buy the experience that happened there.

Upcoming exhibitions:
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
October 24, 2008–January 7, 2009

Rikrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings
The Drawing Center
September 12-Novenber 6, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


new project in the bay area. absolutely worth checking out.

from their website:

Monday, June 9, 2008

discourse on courses


“I learned to set the table before I could ride a bike. I learned that the knife blade should always point toward the plate, that the napkin should be folded so as to open in one shake, and dessert would follow each meal. I ate hamburgers in the summer; strawberries in June; deviled eggs around Easter with hot crossed buns; and in December, indulged on morsels reserved for ushering in the Holidays. Growing up with a “fellowship hour” meant eating out of duty, a styrofoam cup between you and uncomfortable silence. It seems we eat for a variety of reasons including acceptance. Food has been the timekeeper and the taskmaster; its role in life has preserved and dictated a certain socialness. I am drawn towards the roll of hostess and repelled by its serving nature. If there is a twelve-step program to shake sacrifice through service I should probably be in it.”

–– N. Schmidt Dotzauer

Jell-O molds, meatloaf, and twice-baked potatoes are a few of the basic potluck food groups that adorn Natalie Schmidt Dotzauer’s wallpaper installation this month at Punch.

PUNCH Gallery
May Hours: Noon-5 pm, Fri-Sun, or by appointment:
PUNCH, 119 Prefontaine Place South, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 621-1945

Friday, May 23, 2008

the press loves the underground.

we don't really define one pot as an underground restaurant - the project is more clearly about "the table" as an institution, archetype, cultural icon, tool, and place to make work.

the project i started in 2001 called family supper was much more a specific "underground" or unlicensed restaurant - and was meant as a tool kit for others - a way to challenge the conventions of the restaurant and allow others to do the same - some people say that family supper started a movement - i think it is simply part of an ageless continuum - people will always challenge the bureaucracy that surrounds them - civil disobedience is essential to any vital culture - food has been regulated/policed/and sterilized since time began - in one form or another - this new "movement" is just a contemporary challenge to the status quo - but that said - it is people using a table imaginatively and critically and thus should be considered part of this index.

the press loves this "movement" - here is a limited selection of the major and some minor articles:

(we are presently working on getting all of these articles linked - in the meantime go to - same list - with active links)

the new york times + family supper, mamasan bistro, firefly
the international herald tribune + one pot
gq + outstanding in the field
the new york post + ghetto, one pot, homeslice
the wall street journal + ghetto gourmet, one pot, supper underground
la times + ghetto, family supper, and many more
ny times magazine + coach peaches, paris, berlin
marketplace + ghetto gourmet
the guardian + london, cuba, yountville
time magazine + ghetto gourmet
the splendid table + one pot
san francisco chronicle + ghetto gourmet, blind pig, digs
time out chicago + coach peaches.= link coming soon
ny times magazine + outstanding in the field
corriere della sera + family supper= link coming soon
bon appetit + supper underground, ghetto, homeslice
travel + leisure + one pot= link coming soon
cbs morning show + family supper=link coming soon
the new york times + one pot
better homes and gardens + family supper = link coming soon
seattle monthly + one pot
anthony bourdain + gypsy chefs= link coming soon
oakland tribune + ghetto gourmet
the stranger + one pot
seattle weekly + one pot, vagabond
seattle times + gypsy chefs
cbs + homeslice west , ghetto
house and garden + outstanding in the field
alaska airlines + outstanding in the field
seattle monthly + gypsy, vagabond, cache= link coming soon
plum tv + outstanding in the field
seattle weekly + gypsy chefs
california style + outstanding in the field
sunset + plate n pitchfork, outstanding in the field
outside + outstanding in the field
elle + outstanding in the field
metro active + the blind pig
the orange county register + ghetto gourmet
sacramento news and review + hidden kitchen
the new york times + buenos aires
reed college magazine + one pot
reed college magazine + kill the restaurant
tribeza + supper underground
ready made + grub
austinist + supper underground
expatica + club 11
taipei times + malaysia
joburg + joburg underground
mong kok times + death sentence
edible brooklyn + grub
cabinet magazine + marinetti
the prague post + prague undergound
the write word + vancouver b.c.
det progressiva + ghetto, gypsy, one pot, supper underground
daily candy + one pot
chicago suntimes + wellfleet
the new york times + z kitchen
LAist + ghetto gourmet
oc register + ghetto gourmet

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


the project that started one pot. the back room.

the anthology is beautiful and shows just what a table can create - writings by gore vidal, matthew stadler, walid raad, lawrence wechsler, stephanie snyder... the list goes on...

read the intro here - it might be the best introduction to the over-hyped rise of ripe (in portland) and its scandalous explosion.

the back room:
an anthology
(Clear Cut Press: Portland, Ore.)

This book collects documents of the ongoing conversations of the back room. Some were commissioned by and for the back room, others emerged from conversations started there, and a few merely bear a family resemblance. The collection is meant to inspire and inform copycat efforts in other cities.

The Aztec empire conquered at the table. from The Last Flight of The Scarlet Macaw. Bruce Barcott. Random House. 2008.

Lured by reports of gold jewelry spotted on natives of what is now Mexico, Spanish adventurer Hernan Cortes landed a force of 530 men at a village on the Gulf of Mexico, and led them on an eight-month march to the Aztec temple of Tenochitlan...

Fired by opportunity and greed, Cortes kidnapped the Aztec leader Moctezuma, and demanded the king's ransom in gold. A few months later Cortes invited Aztec nobles to the city's central plaza for a traditional feast. With the nation's leaders unguarded and unarmed, Cortes unleashed his horses, swords, and cannons - technology unknown in the New World - and killed them all. After that, the conquest of Mexico was a mop-up operation.

ARCADE JOURNAL - Winter 2007.

Michael Hebberoy Table Making / Breaking
Fritz Haeg Olympic Farming 2012
Sarah Rich From Footwear to FoodBALL
Eva Hagberg Scar Tissue
Stephanie Snyder The Master’s Table
Michael Hebberoy Table Making. Steps 1–8.
Bill Fritts Setting the Table
Peter Lewis Taste & Memory
Greg Lundgren, Matthew Stadler, Adam Kleinman Cook Books
Thorsten Baensch, Chrisine Dupuis Moveable Feat

Michael Hebberoy

For the past one hundred years or so the Western world has been busily building a machine for eating. The blueprints for a glorious global mechanism to produce and distribute the golden jewels of the dirt were drawn up and revised while we hummed from Industry to Information. Now we are all involved and partake daily in this vast architecture. Like many of the armatures of modern design it has left us wanting. This machine may be a grand structure, but it is as cold as a freeway and the tastes it offers are about as complex.

When asked to feature edit this issue — ARCADE’s first sideways glance at the intersection of food and design — I had no clear picture of the patchwork that would form. Kelly had already shoulder-tapped a few respected writers, and I had less than a month to cull the rest of our content from sources far and wide. Strangely it was not a case of lack — the excitement to be involved bubbled over, and if we had pursued every interested party, every concept we had for these pages, you might have a 1,000-page brick of words and images.

The connections between food and design are ripe, rich and densely tangled. We didn’t set out to be macabre or political or really anything particular, but it is clear that this inquiry has hit a common pulse: nostalgia, a sense of loss and enthused commitment to solutions. Scars and personal transformation, broken tables, sweeping proposals to rip up London commons and plant strawberries, and in one case a pitch of anger so intense that a completely uncharacteristic act of violence played out in the night — the articles herein are not military marches, but they clearly respond to the context in which we currently walk, shop and eat. They look beyond Koolhaas’s eerie summation, “Shopping is arguably the last remaining form of public activity,” and suggest that eating can once again become public, vital and, at the risk of sounding overly romantic, passionate.

Bio. Michael Hebberoy studied literature at Reed College and architecture at Portland State University. After launching the City Repair Project, a guerilla architecture project, with artist/activist Mark Lakeman, Hebberoy turned to the table. In March 2001, Michael opened an unlicensed restaurant in his Portland rental home, called Family Supper, which quickly became the most visible underground restaurant in the U.S. In 2004, Hebberoy and chef Morgan Brownlow opened clarklewis to critical acclaim. Hebberoy now lives and works in Seattle. His recent work includes the launch of a new underground project called “one pot” (

from Geography of Home. Akiko Busch. Princeton Architectural Press. 1999.

...and yet we hold on to the big table which, in turn, continues to demand a room of its own. Never mind that the dining table may have a computer on it or often becomes the place to fold laundry or sort the mail. Its surface bears an invisible imprint that indicates placement of forks, spoons, knives, napkins, and plates, all of them promising order, civility, and good manners. Setting a formal table has retained its appeal through all the changes that come into the dining room. This room, a small domain of ritual, though out of sync with the patterns of contemporary life, nevertheless seems to answer some vestigial human need. 

When they were very young, my twin sons were the kind of boys who could look at a truly beautiful cloud formation and see in it rifles; they used their toast as semi-automatic weapons and lived in a whirlwind of chaos. But what always astonished me about these two small warriors os how they loved to set the table; they could not seem to get enough of the domestic task. Even they seemed to sense that there was something soothing about the rituals of dining. There was meticulous care in the way one carried a pile of napkins while his brother softly laid out the forks. There was precision in every move they made. And their behavior seemed to suggest that these simple rituals may be balms to aggression. 

That small domestic rituals can quiet the mayhem of the human spirit has been recognized and institutionalized throughout the ages, and recorded in the history of tableware and table manners. To my mind the seminal moment of that history occurred in 1669, when Louis XIV decreed the use of rounded knives, At the time, knives had a sharp, pointed ends and were as handy in resolving mealtime disputes as they were in carving up a tough hunk of meat. By outlawing such lethal cutlery at the table, the French king was making a reasonable suggestion that his court leave their aggressions elsewhere. Thereafter, knives were designed with blunt, rounded ends, and knives already produced had their sharp ends rounded. Here was legislation that promoted dining as a social, congenial, even gentle act. It was one of those moments in design history when the connection between the form of an object and social intercourse was clear and precise, when the shape of an object and human behavior took their cues from one another in a clear and beautiful sequence.