Free food in the gallery: Understanding Tiravanija

  • Zora Pang
  • Journal of Arts Writing by Students, September 2020, Intellect
  • DOI: 10.1386/jaws_00021_1

Free food in the gallery: Understanding Tiravanija

What is it about?

Based on my experience in-person with Untitled (Lunch Box), an interpretation of Tiravanija’s ephemeral work is provided using the model of communicative action theorized by Habermas, which was first applied to contemporary art by art scholar Grant Kester (2004). Tiravanija’s practice uses food to create situations for communicative actions to happen and is an approach to institutional critique. The last section provides a critical account against Bishop’s criticism of Tiravanija.

Why is it important?

Artists interrupting or intervening in art museum displays with food as a medium or theme is a distinct strand of contemporary art practice. In this article, we travel through fragments of the history of food-art with a few examples of different genres and forms, demonstrating that art history can be explained in other ways than through the already recognized art genres.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jaws_00021_1

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