July 27, 2012

Gallery-goers eat rats at the art show "Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch."

And the NYT gives the show 2-pages of glowing description (and warnings that — ooh! — you may be disgusted).
Twenty people, mostly friends of [the artist Laura] Ginn or the gallery owner, [Allegra] LaViola, nibbled on goat cheese bruschetta topped with rat leg tenderloin, and rat-pork terrine encircled with beef fat, prepared by a chef after much trial and error with his proteins. The rats were shipped from a United States Department of Agriculture-approved West Coast processor that supplies pet owners with humanely killed, individually flash-frozen rodents, in classifications ranging from “jumbo” to “fuzzy.” Seventy five rats were skinned and cooked — and broiled and smoked and grilled — for the dinner, and most guests paid $100 each to attend, signing a liability waiver, some not entirely willingly.

“If I see an entire carcass, I might throw up,” said Clifford Owens, a performance artist. Mr. Owens, who had an exhibition at MoMA PS1 this spring, invoked the daredevil spirit of the performance artist Marina Abramovic, to get himself through the evening. “This is about risk,” he said.
It's like a Tony Robbins fire-walking event... for the sophisticated, arty crowd.
“I don’t care about it as art,” [said "artist and video editor" Timothy Hutchings.] “I care about it as something that makes me a more interesting human being.”
So another artist doesn't care about it as art. He cares about it as something that makes him a more interesting human being.

But isn't that what art is all about? Being the artist who is the most interesting human being? I can just imagine what was reeling through the brains of the artists who submitted to Ginn's art performance — and what's still reeling now that there's this drooling write-up in the New York Times. Why her?! Why not me! Look how interesting I am. This is all about me displaying myself as a more interesting human being. It can't be that she played me into her getting the recognition as more interesting.

I don’t care about it as art.

42 comments:

MadisonMan said...

“I care about it as something that makes me a more interesting human being.”

So basically he's doing it to get laid.

Skipper said...

I spent yesterday afternoon at a wonderful showing of Rembrandt paintings. Compare and contrast with rat delicacies as art.

chickelit said...

It's scam, a hoax:

Now Get This! We feed the rats to the hep cats and the hep cats to the media rats and get the cat skins for nothing!

traditionalguy said...

This is a tasteless joke, right?

I guess NYC didn't invent the Rat;, they just invented the Rat sandwich complete with seven secret spices.

Will the next food art be Madison Wisconsin artists eating badger burgers tartar intead of Brats?

edutcher said...

During WWII, those who passed through the Commando school at Achnacarry were regularly fed rats (unbeknownst to them until afterward).

What spec op is the artsy crowd going to implement?

PS Love the fact the rats were "humanely killed". That makes all the difference.

F said...

I'm betting a "humanely killed" rat, frozen and shipped from CA, costs more per pound than quality beef tenderloin. The mindless ironies of this story just pile up!

ndspinelli said...

Free range rat only for me. We've all consumed rat feces whether reralized or not.

deborah said...

I once suggested a 'tedious art' tag.

chickelit said...

My own tastes run to the vaunted Sprague-Dawley rat--bred for taste and flavor right there in Madison Wisconsin. It's yet another white meat.

chickelit said...

@deborah: Well, you can't say it's tasteless!

ricpic said...

Regarding art and being interesting, here is what T.S. Eliot had to say:

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.

lemondog said...

Has Bloomberg been notified as this may prompt people with guns to subway hunt for free-riding rats?

Will he officiate at the rat eating?

Rat delicacy with a big gulp.

Is this considered ratist?

Dr Weevil said...

RAT is an anagram of ART. Do you think that inspired them, perhaps subconsciously?

rhhardin said...

Kant bases art on disgust.

Some contemporary summary Disgust and Ugliness: A Kantian Perspective.

EDH said...

Cheese eating. One thing shared by the artistic diners and their dinner.

"I got this rat, this gnawing, cheese eating fuckin' rat... and it brings up questions..."

DonSurber said...

As long as I as a taxpayer don't have to pay for it, they can eat shit and die for all I care

Pastafarian said...

Tomorrow we will feast again on what we catch -- except we didn't catch it, we had it shipped to us from rat-farmers.

I'd be (slightly) more impressed with this if the "artist" caught, killed, field-dressed, and cooked the food. There's an art to all 4 of those things. But she did none of this. She didn't even give the cook a recipe. All she did was book the hall and decide what the main course was.

And to the guy who thinks it makes him more interesting to eat rat: Last week I ate calf thymus, and the liver from a morbidly obese goose. And I've eaten more tree-rats (squirrels) than I can count.

chorale said...

So they ate rats from a government-certificated processing facility, huh? The artist should have had everyone participate in catching, killing, and butchering the rats themselves. What poseurs!

CJinPA said...

“I don’t care about it as art. I care about it as something that makes me a more interesting human being.”

That's a keeper.

Everything about the Freak Art world is clearer now.

gerry said...

Welcome to the Weimar Republic.

Dr Weevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Weevil said...

In 1905, A. E. Housman wrote "Parisians ate rats in the siege, when they had nothing better to eat: must admirers of Parisian cookery eat rats for ever?" (Paris was besieged in the Franco-Prussian War.) He meant it as a rhetorical question, with an obvious answer. I wonder what he would have said if he had ever heard of anything like this.

(Pedantic footnote: If you're wondering about the context of the quotation, he was mocking editors of classical texts who continued to use bad manuscripts after much better ones have been found. Some would even use manuscripts that were copies of other surviving manuscripts, and therefore of no value whatsoever except where the original had become illegible after it was copied.)

t-man said...

The sad man who lives in fear of seeming to be uninteresting brought to mind the classic Bugs Bunny lines:

My, I'll bet you monsters lead in-teresting lives. I said to my girl friend just the other day, 'Gee, I'll bet monsters are in-teresting.' I said. The places you must go and the things you must see -- my stars! I bet you meet lots of in-teresting people too. I'm always in-terested in meeting in-teresting people. Now let's dip our patties in the water!

MnMark said...

Twenty people, mostly friends of [the artist Laura] Ginn or the gallery owner, [Allegra] LaViola, nibbled on goat cheese bruschetta topped with rat leg tenderloin, and rat-pork terrine encircled with beef fat

...and yet another marker in the degeneration of our culture is reached.

It's like something out of a dystopia novel, except that you'd think the author was stretching the bounds of believability by portraying New York elitists eating rat meat to show how sophisticated they are.

Some time in the future, after the collapse of things as they are, people are going to want to dress nicely in public, use proper language, leave their bodies unmarked, watch movies that leave you feeling hopeful and good, listen to music that has harmonies and melodies instead of jungle chants, and create art that is actually, unashamedly, beautiful.

But first things have to get so ugly and brutal that ugliness and brutality are no longer hip.

carrie said...

The promoters were probably vegetarian and are laughing at all of the meat eaters that they suckered into eating RAT.

William said...

Laura Ginn, the artist, was, in fact, a vegatarian, and this was the first meat she'd eaten in years. From her picture in the paper she looks surprisingly likeable and corn fed. She's an import from the mid west. The diners at the meal looked exactly like the kind of people who would pay $100 for a meal of rat, but she looked like someone who knows a thing or two about apple pie.....Some people look like who they are--that rat harvester in La for example--and some people don't fit their stereotype.....Maybe it was all an elaborate trap to catch trend hungry Soho types and feed on their carcasses. Bait them with rat meat and a NY Times reporter, and they will show up and fork over $100 for the privilege. It takes a certain amount of cunning for a young girl from Michigan to batten on the NY art scene. She's not a top predator but she certainly made a killing.

Freeman Hunt said...

When we had a snake, I used to order those rats. I cannot say that I was ever tempted to eat one of them.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would also note that forgetting there is a bag of rats in the freezer and asking your visiting mother to retrieve something from said freezer is amusing.

From Inwood said...

Hey, as long as the rats don't come from a company owned by the Chick-fil-A guy....

Donald said...

I was disappointed the article wasn't accompanied by a picture of the artist in her rat-pelt dress. A little Googling, though, finds one:
https://www.nytsyn.com/images/photos?start_date=1901-01-01&search_id=816851#789005

So who's going to order a copy?

Eric said...

I don't always eat rats, but when I do, I perfer rats that make me more interesting. Stay hungry my friends.

Carnifex said...

Stories like this just convince southerners that Yankees are bat shit crazy. So if I pile something aweful on a piece of bread, and then charge you to eat it, that makes me an artist.

I'ma gonna open me up a urine flavored lemonade stand next to this place. Think I'll clean up?

Paco Wové said...

"The rats were shipped from a United States Department of Agriculture-approved West Coast processor that supplies pet owners with humanely killed, individually flash-frozen rodents, in classifications ranging from “jumbo” to “fuzzy.”

But... they didn't catch them. Like Freeman said, they're just eating store-bought, pre-packaged snake food.

"If I see an entire carcass, I might throw up,” said Clifford Owens, a performance artist. “This is about risk,” he said.

Oh, please. There's zero risk here, you squeamish lily-livered noodly-armed "artiste", you.

LordSomber said...

It's all about shocking the squares.

Yawn.

Carnifex said...

@Freeman

No. Not forgetting there are frozen rats in the freezer, and asking her to retrieve something is funny. The other way is just a happy accident. :-)

Tell them Yakee's I got a whole passel of porcupine eggs, 12₵ a piece or 2 for 25₵.

pssst. they really ain't porcupine eggs...they's cockle burrs. but don't let them know

TosaGuy said...

Great post, MnMark.

diehipster.com has already torn into this.

Paco Wové said...

first things have to get so ugly and brutal that ugliness and brutality are no longer hip.

Frequently, after reading a story like this, either the spouse or I will look up and say, "Hard rain's coming."

"And a cleansing fire," replies the other.

"Yup".

"But wait. You can't have a cleansing fire after a hard rain. The cleansing fire has to come first."

"Well, ok. But it sounds better the other way around."

BarryD said...

"Daredevil" in the art world means "I'm such a sheltered little city-bred wussy that I think eating any meat other than beef or chicken is really, really daring!"

Crawfish are pretty disgusting. They're swimming cockroaches. Yet, people eat them, too.

"I once suggested a 'tedious art' tag."

"New York Art Scene" good enough?

chickelit said...

Ginn is an uncommon surname. Is there a connect to Greg Ginn and his artist brother Raymond (aka Raymond Pettibon)?

Carnifex said...

I try to find 1 exotic food to taste each year. Only thing I really didn't like was snails/escargot. But if I was hungry enough, I'd eat'em all day long. And that's what it comes down Are ya' hungry...punk? Well...Are ya'?

I suspect these people have never been in fear of their next meal, ever.

EMD said...

Adjacent story link:

Strip Clubs in Tampa are ready to cash in on GOP convention

That may be all true and dandy, but do you think there's a story about Charlotte strip clubs and the Dem convention?

Peter said...

Back in the days of sail rat was a favorite treat in the Midshipman's berth of the ships of the Royal Navy.

Of course when anyone ate they constantly tapped their biscuit on the table so the weevils would get alarmed and leave. The weevils were fed to the ship's chickens. Only the officers ever got eggs. Oh, and the cooks.

Effin' hipsters, they have no sense of history, nor any sense of how good they have it.