Rirkrit Tiravanija

When Nothingness Becomes Form

- ENROLLMENT CLOSED - “I do not particularly like the word 'work.' Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”
-Masanobu Fukuoka, One Straw Revolution

A progenitor of the art of art as life, artist Rirkrit Tiravinija’s intensive will dive into that very question. Tiravanija asks these questions as the foundation for this intense and intimate gathering of artists, “How do we continue to think about making art in a world where existing as a human is no longer sustainable? How can we communicate in a world where communication is reduced to 270 characters? How can we make pictures and images, when on average, people are spending twenty minutes on Instagram, Gen-Z spends fifty-three minutes per day, while Americans spend more than thirteen hundred hours on social media?

And what is the reason for an artist to be, in this contemporary existence, are there still reasons to be an artist? What is our daily necessity, as Fukuoka proposes, to simply do what needs to be done?

I hope to lead us in a discourse in the future of the necessities of being an artist.”

Apr 7th - May 19th

4-6:30 pm EST



Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Buenos Aires in 1961. He received his BA from the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, in 1984, and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. From 1985 to 1986, he participated in the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York.

Tiravanija is best known for his intimate, participatory installations that revolve around personal and shared communal traditions, such as cooking Thai meals. At the forefront of the shift in avant-garde art practices in the 1990s, moving away from more traditional art objects and toward “relational aesthetics” that incorporate diverse cultural spaces, practices, and temporalities, Tiravanija has continually challenged and expanded the social dimension of art, inviting people from all walks of life to inhabit the special and personal spaces that he constructs.

Through his real-time experiences, Tiravanija often addresses broader social and political concerns, such as protest movements against the Thai government, that go largely unaddressed in Western media. Over the course of his thirty-year career, he has also come to incorporate into his art and installations a wide variety of media, including painting, printmaking, video, photography, mixed-media assemblage, and music.

Tiravanija has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions. He was the subject of two major retrospectives in the 2000s: Nothing: A Retrospective, at Chiang Mai University Art Museum, Thailand, in 2004, and A Retrospective (tomorrow is another fine day), which was presented simultaneously at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2004 to 2005, and later at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in 2005. His work was featured in the Venice Biennale in 1993, 1999, 2011, and 2015. He also exhibited at the São Paulo Biennial in 2006, and the Whitney Biennial in 1995 and 2006. At the 2012 Paris Triennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Tiravanija presented Soup/No Soup (2011–2012), a twelve-hour banquet that was open to all visitors at the Grand Palais.

Among his many awards and honors, Tiravanija was the recipient of the 2004 Hugo Boss Prize from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled 2001 (The Magnificent Seven, Spaghetti Western), 2019, Courtesy of the artist.
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled, 2002 (the raw and the cooked), 2002, Courtesy of the artist.
Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2011 (police the police), 2011, Pencil on wall, cooking utensils, steel, Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York.

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