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Antidiets of the Avant-Garde

Antidiets of the Avant-Garde: From Futurist Cooking to Eat Art

Cecilia Novero
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Antidiets of the Avant-Garde
    Book Description:

    Cecilia Novero discusses an aspect of the European avant-garde that has often been neglected—its relationship to the embodied experience of food. She exposes the key roles that food plays in the theoretical foundations and material aesthetics of works ranging from the Italian Futurist Cookbook to the magazine Dada, Walter Benjamin’s writings on eating and cooking, Daniel Spoerri’s Eat Art, and the French New Realists.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7067-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION Encounters of the Culinary and the Avant-Garde
    (pp. vii-xxxviii)

    This book arose initially out of a stupor provoked by Franz Kafka’s enigmatic intricacy of unsuspecting metamorphoses and disturbing visions. Three of his short stories spurred my thinking about the connections or, as I would like to call them,interferencesbetween the two fields investigated here: avant-garde studies and the culinary field.¹ The genealogy of this book does not underscore continuity and chronology — a causal series of connections — between the art considered and gastronomic discourse. Nor does it follow an itinerary beginning with immediately identifi able questions and ending with clear unequivocal answers. The following remarks suggest instead a number...

    (pp. 1-52)

    No matter where we turn in our consumer society today, we are flooded with information about the body’s physical and mental health. Radio and television programs, magazines and specialized books, cookery texts, advertisements and commercials all entice the public to purchase more and more information on how to consume less. We are caught in a paradox: to consume less (food) we consume more (information). Energy bars, vitamins and supplements, pictures of slender models and muscular athletes, self-help manuals and cookbooks on fast and practical ways of cooking aim at keeping us fit and healthy for a society on the go...

    (pp. 53-90)

    The use of incorporation and digestion in selected Dada texts and manifestos was a rhetorical approach to food detectable in the texts written by the forerunners of the surrealists. This group of Dada artists and poets, primarily associated with Zurich and Paris but also with Berlin and Cologne, includes Tristan Tzara, Walter Serner, Francis Picabia, Arthur Cravan, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, André Breton, Philippe Soupault, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Max Ernst, Hans Arp, and Raoul Hausmann.Revue Dada,published in Zurich between 1917 and 1922, gathered those texts that seem among the most fragmentary and dispersed and, hence, also those that would...

    (pp. 91-144)

    There are no easy ways around Walter Benjamin’s writings. Yet the intricacy of his thought opens up multiple points of entry into his corpus, which, as the critic Gerhard Richter argues, never advances concepts readily available for everyday use.¹ A seemingly ordinary trope of the everyday, the operation of incorporation, as in devouring and eating — taken rather widely — provides a filter for reading Benjamin’s tangential contact with the avant-garde, especially the surrealists. Through incorporation, I argue, Benjamin proposes a critical, theoretical, but nonsystematic activity that first moves beyond the disciplinary boundaries between specialized academic work and cultural/political journalism, hence between...

    (pp. 145-208)

    Daniel Spoerri inaugurated Eat Art in Düsseldorf with the Spoerri Restaurant (1968) and the Eat Art Gallery (1970).¹ Eat Art does not illustrate but actualizes the flows of energy and multiple temporalities passing from the singular eating body to the collective body. Years before Spoerri invented Eat Art, he had produced the trap-painting that already expressed these ideas. Trap-paintings are collages made of planks or tables on which Spoerri glued dishes, silverware, glasses, and leftovers of an actual meal. The trapped objects and their bases were then hoisted vertically, like paintings.

    While Spoerri’s trap-paintings used food to mark, initially, a...

    (pp. 209-256)

    This final chapter considers two groupings of artists who worked with food. I first analyze neo-avant-garde collaborators in Spoerri’s Eat Art project, namely, those artists who exhibited at Eat Art Gallery and, in certain cases, also cooked at his restaurant. I then address other contemporaneous artists who, although not directly in touch with Spoerri, worked with food as material and concept within their own art.

    To read food works by those occasional Eat artists who showed at the Eat Art Gallery (Arman, César, and Joseph Beuys, among others) and by those individual artists who used food as Spoerri did (e.g.,...

  9. CONCLUSION In/Edible Art: What Remains?
    (pp. 257-270)

    This book has traced the aesthetic interrelations between the classical movements of the avant-garde at the beginning of the twentieth century and the neo-avant-garde between the sixties and eighties. It has examined how critical attention to the presence of food in the avant-garde (first in metaphoric form and later in material form) helps redefi ne the neo-avant-garde according to a temporality of returns that does not preclude aesthetic change.

    The avant-garde links food not only to the temporal process of the production and consumption of art but also, metaphorically, to spiraling temporalities in history. The analyses of food reveal how...

    (pp. 271-274)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 275-312)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 313-350)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 351-351)