While researching installation artists I came across Jennifer Rubell and her work really captivated me while I read about it on her website. Her art installations work with food, and get the viewers in the gallery participating, so it is more of a performance than an art installation. Her ‘Icons’ work got me thinking about ways to get the viewers to feel connected to my work, to feel like they are part of it.
Participants enter a 40-foot square room that is ramped with plywood. In the rear right corner is a cutout in the approximate shape and form of Vito Acconci’s body in Seed Bed. Growing out of this hole are baby carrots, tops attached. Participants pick the carrots and wash them in a series of wash basins next door, then eat them. The next gallery contains a pedestal of drinking glasses and eight drinking paintings, consisting of a 6′ X 10′ raw stretched canvas with a single spigot in the center. The wall label next to it indicates what kind of drink is inside: Gin & Tonic; Bourbon; Water; Lemonade; Dirty Martini, Rum & Coke, Screwdriver and White Wine. There is a pedestal of four stainless steel champagne fountains. A pedestal covered in fake wood paneling holds paint tubes of various dips and spreads, and another one next to it holds a pile of potato chips. Seven identical casts of Rubell’s head in Fontina cheese are suspended from the ceiling, with heat guns strapped to each one. The heat guns slowly melt the suspended heads onto a pedestal of crackers below. Downstairs, in the Beaux Arts Court, there are nine pedestals, each with a different meat or vegetable. There are giant roasts of beef, lamb, pork and turkey. One pedestal contains 150 roasted rabbits, tied into the form of the hare in Joseph Beuys’ How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. There are pedestals of vegetables as well. Each pedestal has implements to cut or serve. There are butchers’ aprons on the meat pedestals. There are six hundred-foot tables along the raised outside perimeter. Each table is covered with grey felt. On top are stacks of plates, plus piles of forks, knives and napkins. After dinner, participants go to the museum lobby, where a 20-foot tall piñata of Andy Warhol’s head has been hanging for a week. Baseball bats are provided to break it open. Participants begin to destroy it. Inside are all manner of classic American pre-packaged desserts: Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Yodels, Sno Balls, Suzy Q’s, Ho Ho’s, etc. Guests will take turns using the bats and distributing the contents, until finally a few participants begin lounging inside the empty pinata, a complete takeover.
Description of Jennifer Rubell’s installation from her website.
There were so many photographs of the event on her website, taken by John Berens and Kevin Tachman. They are really good photographs showing me everything about the event. I especially wanted to see if the audience actually got involved with the installation, and by the photographs I can see they did.
My work will be spilling out of a suitcase with the photographs suspended by ribbon this is so the photos can spin around in the breeze created by the people walking past, thus making them have a small part in my installation. I want the viewers to imagine their childhood when they see the photos of me and the child’s clothes and toys, I also want them to start imagining shapes in the photographs of the sky. So that the audience and viewers can always be incorporated into my art installation.