EAI is proud to present a screening and talk by Martha Rosler featuring her "kitchen videos." One of contemporary art's most important and incisive cultural critics, Rosler has frequently turned her keen analytical eye, her camera lens, and her sharp deadpan humor on the kitchen. At EAI, Rosler will premiere her most recent work, Semiotics of the Kitchen: An Audition (2011, 10:26 min), alongside three of her landmark videos from the 1970s, A budding gourmet (1974, 17:45 min), Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975, 6:09 min), and The East Is Red, The West Is Bending (1977, 19:57 min).
Gastronomy and the social practices governing food have been a recurring subject in Rosler's work across four decades. In the classic Semiotics of the Kitchen, the kitchen becomes an arena for deconstructing the traditional role of women. Activating an emphatic inventory of cooking implements with their corresponding significations, Rosler subverts the site of culinary production, becoming an "anti-Julia Child." In works such as A budding gourmet and The East Is Red, The West Is Bending—further parodic enactments of the televised cooking show—she stages the larger performance of cuisine culture in America, highlighting its role in constructing class and gender identity and driving aspirational middle-class consumption.
Rosler has explored other facets of the politics of food production and consumption, beginning with three postcard novels on women and food collected in Service: A Trilogy on Colonization (1974-76); the multimedia performance/installations A Gourmet Experience (1974) and performance Romances of the Meal (Brussels, 2002). Related video works are Losing: A Conversation with the Parents (1977), From the PTA, the High School, and the City of Del Mar (1977), and the three-channel installation Global Taste: A Meal in Three Courses (1985). Other published and exhibited works include "Kitchen Economics: The Wonder of White Bread" (1975) and "Know Your Servant Series, No. 1: North American Waitress, Coffee-Shop Variety" (1977), and "Patriotic Jell-O Salad" (2003).
In 2003, for A Short History of Performance, Part II, at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, Rosler announced an open call for a live restaging of Semiotics of the Kitchen. Twenty-six women participated in a rotating performance of Rosler's script at the Whitechapel. Semiotics of the Kitchen: An Audition documents the preliminary rehearsals with Rosler and the public event, the "audition."
Following the screening there will be an audience Q&A with the artist.
Martha Rosler was born in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives and works; she spent a dozen years in California, where most of tonight's video works were made. She received a B.A. from Brooklyn College and an M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego. She has taught at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her works in several media are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Guggenheim Museum in New York; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Long Beach Museum of Art in California; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Tate and V&A in London; Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona; Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Australian National Gallery, Canberra; and hundreds of colleges, universities, and independent centers around the world. Her work has been exhibited at the 50th Venice Biennale; 2004 Taipei Biennial; documentas 7 and 12, Kassel; several Whitney Biennials, New York; SkulpturProjekte Münster 07; and many other group exhibitions. The Martha Rosler Library toured from 2005 to 2009. A career retrospective, Positions in the Life World, was exhibited at 5 European cities and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and Institute of Contemporary Photography, New York, from 1998 to 2000. A major exhibition, As If, is currently on view at the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Torino.
Rosler was awarded the Spectrum International Prize in Photography for 2005 and the Oskar Kokoschka Prize in 2006. She received an Anonymous Was A Woman Award in 2007 and in 2008 was the United States Artists Nimoy Fellow. In 2009 she held a residency at Civitella Ranieri in Umbertide, Italy. She received a Guggenheim Museum Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In 2011 she will be a DAAD Artist in Residence in Berlin.
Forthcoming this year is The Art of Cooking, a "lost" manuscript of Rosler's on the rhetorics of cooking and of art production, made up almost entirely of quotations from cooking manuals and books on gastronomy, in production with the cooperation of e-flux.
EAI: Celebrating 40 Years
Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world's leading nonprofit resources for video art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of video art and digital art. EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI's activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists' talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art:
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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.