Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art

February 16 – June 10, 2012

Mella Jaarsma, I Eat You Eat Me, 2002, Photographic documentation of a performance in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Courtesy of the artist.

Mella Jaarsma, I Eat You Eat Me, 2002, Photographic documentation of a performance in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Courtesy of the artist.

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.

Join the Feast

Join the feast and discover first hand the ways in which artists are using shared experiences with food and drink to spark new encounters with the world around us. As part of the exhibition, the Smart presents an array of participatory projects, meals, and salons that take place within the Smart Museum and throughout Chicago.


Feast includes art, documentary materials, and new public projects by Marina Abramović and Ulay, Sonja Alhäuser, Mary Ellen Carroll, Fallen Fruit, Theaster Gates, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, InCUBATE, The Italian Futurists, Mella Jaarsma, Alison Knowles, Suzanne Lacy, Lee Mingwei, Laura Letinsky, Tom Marioni, Gordon Matta-Clark, Mildred's Lane, Julio César Morales and Max La Rivière-Hedrick, motiroti, National Bitter Melon Council, Ana Prvacki, Sudsiri Pui-Ock, Michael Rakowitz, Ayman Ramadan, Red76, David Robbins, Allen Ruppersberg, Bonnie Sherk, Barbara T. Smith, Daniel Spoerri, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.


Feast is accompanied by a comprehensive publication that is part exhibition catalogue, part critical reader. The book includes interviews with over twenty contributing artists and reprinted excerpts of classic texts. It also features a selection of contextual essays contributed by an international group of critics, writers, curators, and scholars: Irina Aristarkhova, Geoff Emberling, Charles Esche, Hannah B. Higgins, Anthony Huberman, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Abigail Satinsky, Stephanie Smith, Stephanie Snyder, David Teh, Jacqueline Terrassa, Jan Verwoert, and Lori Waxman. 

Project blog

The Feast project blog has behind-the-scenes info, in-depth posts on works in the exhibition, videos, and more.

Free Public Programs

Download the symposium program (PDF) and a listing of related programs (PDF).


Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston
September 7–December 7, 2013

SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico
February 1–May 17, 2014

Gund Gallery, Kenyon College
July 25–November 30, 2014

Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota
January 31–May 10, 2015

Best Museum Exhibition

—Chicago Reader, Best of Chicago 2012