This year at the annual Frieze Art Fair New York on Governor’s Island the artist-run restaurant of the early 1970′s, Food, will be remembered as artists of today open a pop-up Food-inspired restaurant space to commemorate the legendary establishment that pushed boundaries, shocked guests, and employed over 60 New York artists.
The original Food opened in 1971 on the corner of Prince and Wooster Streets by artists Gordon Matta-Clark, his then-girlfriend Caroline Goodden, and Tina Girouard. The concept was born out of a steady dinner party scene among the artist community that existed within the studio lofts of downtown Manhattan. With themed dinners that included an evening of dining on edible flowers with guests also dressed as flowers, these dinner parties were anything but your typical potluck.
At Food artists were invited to guest chef for an evening or make some extra cash by working as a server or washing dishes. Bizarre meals were expected as artists prepared dinners like the “bone dinner” that incorporated bone marrow, oxtail soup, and frog legs while afterward guests were encouraged to create necklaces using the leftover bones. Sushi, before sushi was a common term, was served as “raw mackerel” to adventurous diners who frequented Food. Vegetarians were welcomed two-days a week for special menu offerings. The corner downtown restaurant was constantly stewing with artistic talent as so many prominent and struggling artists walked through the door to either cook, dine, or both. It was a creative outlet that provided artists a unique way to incorporate food and entertaining into their artistic experimentation.
In May, when Frieze returns to New York, the offsite restaurant/exibit Food 1971/2013 will host similarly obscure dinners prepared each day by a member of the artist community. Meals will once again be served in a dynamic performance space where creative minds can gather and gain inspiration from both conversation and the food on their plate.