12.23.2010

Fair Enough: My Just Right Breakfast

The posts so far:
Fair Enough: Traveling Incognita? 
Fair Enough: All Over But the Posting 
Fair Enough: Art or Trash?
Fair Enough: Prologue to the Report
Fair Enough: ABMB, Part 1
Fair Enough: ABMB, Part 2
Fair Enough: Aqua Art 
Fair Enough: Pulse 
Fair Enough: Seven
Fair Enough: Scope
Fair Enough: NADA
Fair Enough: Ink 
Fair Enough: A Peek at Art Miami
Fair Enough: Doubletake at Art Miami
Fair Enough: Art Miami


What does this healthy bowl of oatmeal, below, have in common with the Dumpster below that?


Image stolen shamelessly from the C-Monster blog, in which Carolina Miranda tells essentially the same story I'm going to do here, except that she did it three weeks ago--and, to her credit, far more concisely


You may recall this image from Art or Trash, one of my earlier posts about the fairs. Art? Trash? Either way you would have been right.  The Dumpster was on the grass outside the casita where Jennifer Rubell's Just Right was installed.  “It’s not part of the installation," explained the voice at the other of the line when I called to inquire, "but Jennifer wanted you to see what came out of the house.” So then it is part of the installation?  “Well is it and it isn’t.”


Mera and Don Rubell and their family have a great exhibition space in Wynwood. It's a former DEA warehouse which they have turned into a private museum. Lucky are the scions of this family. Jason, the son, started collecting when he was a teenager. He must have had quite an allowance, because his collection, Time Capsule, on display in the main building, is full of blue-chip work from the 1980s, which he amassed between the ages of 13 and 21. (He exhibited the collection for his senior thesis at Duke.)

But in this post we're going to focus on Jennifer Rubell, who specializes in culinary installations. Her Just Right, an interactive event--i.e. edible food available to enthusiastic visitors--was installed in a gutted casita within the family compound. With the museum to our back, we're about to squeeze our way through the hole in the wall below to visit Jennifer Rubell's installation.


The hole in the wall


The casita, which had been gutted and was filled with eating utensils

In the first room was a platform full of bowls



 In the second room, one of spoons


 It was skeevy to see a toilet sandwiched between the bowl room and the spoon room but, hey, we endure for art


 In a little room off to one side, a raised box was heaped with packets of raw sugar


 In another, some 40 or so crockpots containing oatmeal were set in a grid on a large table. I think you can see where this is going: A serve-yourself porridge fest. Just Right, get it, Goldie?

Since you can't get a good sense of where the crockpots were in my photograph, I decided to go right to the source, the Rubell Family Collection website, and lift this image, where there are additional pictures, including one of the artist. The Miami Herald provides more background info about the work


 Raisins (I confess: I took a box for snacking later, since I hate them on my oatmeal)

And milk (I wonder how many times this fridge was opened for someone to take a picture of it, as I did here)



This is the view into the yard (note the Dumpster beyond the tree)  from what had been the kitchen

How do I know it was the kitchen?


I don't suppose it was lost on most of the visitors that the casita had once been a home, probably to a family, just as the neighboring little houses appear to be still, and that our lavishly simple breakfast could have provided sustenance for a family of five for, oh, a month. But walking back through the hole into the family museum, most of us went from being art slummers to museum guests whose material means don't come anywhere near our hosts'.  Everything's relative.

The oatmeal, I must tell you, was good.

 A guide helps everyone back through the hole

6 comments:

Eileen P Goldenberg said...

no raisins on your oatmeal???

Oriane Stender said...

Not having seen this live, I can only comment on your documentation, but there's something very distasteful about this conspicuous display of consumption. Everything about it screams of excess - each individual pot instead of one huge pot, each little package of raisins. I suppose there is some sort of irony or institutional critique going on because otherwise it would just be tacky. They need a dumpster just for their breakfast trash. Maybe it's about the huge carbon footprint people like the Rubells make. Is that the statement a junior Rubell wants to make? Weird.

Tamar said...

What should we take away from this? Anybody's guess. Oatmeal is humble and nourishing--but all those little packets of raw sugar make this display anything but humble.
Best part: the hole in the wall.

Joanne Mattera said...

Tamar: If the artist's name had been Jennifer Schmo, the work would not have been shown at the Rubell compound. Indeed, it might not have been shown anywhere. But we all know that fame and opportunity have more to do with factors beyond the idea or talent of the artist.

Oriane: I have no idea what the work is about. Nor, really, do I care. I do think the Rubells have a genuine interest in art, though, and as wealthy people they are putting their money where their art is. I like that.

Eileen: I like raisins in oatmeal cookies but not in oatmeal. Go figure.

Nancy Natale said...

It all gets back to the Art/Not Art question. If she put on this "interactive exhibition" at a homeless shelter, what would it be?

Really I have no quibble about it except that I would rather see all their dough (get it?) go to artists instead of to feeding fair goers (who are probably a heavy percent artists).

Joanne, I get your raisin thing even though I LOVE raisins. It's the same as I love peanut butter but not in cookies, cake or whatever.

I agree that the hole in the wall is the best thing. But of course I didn't taste the oatmeal.

Elena De La Ville said...

I also visited this space and after walking around seeing the collections and the art on the walls in the galleries, it was an unexpected find and discovery to pass through that hole in the wall to another reality. It was not marked, you either found it or not, and as you were helped to ‘the other side’ you immediately became conscious of the other reality: Yes, I thought about who had lived there, I thought about the sad and gutted little casita who once had a family. I looked for clues still taped to the walls: there was still a paper bunny taped on the wall in the ‘ raisin room” (a child’s room?). I totally enjoyed discovering what I was supposed to do as each clue was revealed and I played with the sequence of each ingredient. This was an installation, but could I touch it, take it, taste it? Visually stimulating with appetizing results… and yes, I enjoyed the raisins..