Hangry: What Was on Offer Honey Jones-Hughes

I didn’t know art fatigue was real until I met Liesbeth Bik. She doesn’t suffer from it, she doesn’t run out of things to say when she looks at art, and she doesn’t run out of ways to convince you the exhibition you just saw (and weren’t particularly inspired by) is actually relevant to your practice. She always has another show she thinks you should go to see up her sleeve. She also doesn’t seem to get hungry.

Now, putting a group of people on trains, buses, trams, and the metro—and getting them to walk a fair amount of kilometres a day, through various cities—really does work up a hunger. Liesbeth, however, was just hungry for more art. I think the food we ate together during this seminar is related somehow to the place and context of the things we saw and discussed. From the coffee we drank, to the bunch of bananas someone always had on the early trains or buses. Our thinking on colonisation, for example, and on trade and the movement of people, culture, and taste into Europe and particularly how the Netherlands is connected to the Surinamese restaurant we frequent here in Rotterdam and the Turkish biscuits shared on journeys back at the end of our long days.

There is a significance and an importance in naming the acts and events and histories that have resulted in the diverse plates we now expect to consume on a daily basis. A Global Table, the show we saw at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, did just this; labelling the origin of each part of the composition portrayed within the Dutch still lives and portraits on display (commissioned, more often than not, as an outward expression of affluence). From the gold and fine foods to the enslaved, the show presented a conception of the global economy that allowed us to analyse our present-day culinary habits.

The things we eat are so well integrated into our lives that they form much of our knowledge of culture and place. So, yes Liesbeth, while we used up precious time that could have been spent on art, our meals and snacks fuelled discussions and debates on the things we’d seen.

Here’s a rundown of everything I ate, and the exhibitions, collections, and talks that we ate around during Liesbeth Bik’s thematic seminar What is the Offer?: Exhibitioning as a Verb!:

21 September 2017

“Deviant Practice, Collections in Transition: Decolonialising, Demodernising, and Decentralising” symposium, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

An overpriced black coffee from a well-known chain, a banana gifted by a friend.

A cappuccino, with accompanying biscuit.

A bowl of soup; mushroom I think? Six-ish sandwiches from a tiered stand; Egg mayonnaise, cheese on a fruited bun, brie and some kind of fruit—was it grape? Would have eaten more sandwiches but a tiered platter was dropped and they all ended up on the floor. Two glasses of juice.

A black coffee.

A glass of wine, some peanuts.

23 November 2017

Rana Hamadeh, The Ten Murders of Josephine, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam

The Collection as Time Machine, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Finders Keepers: The Life of Things, and The Other Architect, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam

Oat milk cappuccino and vegan chocolate brownie in the break halfway through the Boijmans exhibition; the cafe was trying to lower its carbon footprint by becoming vegan, and everything was labelled in a way that informed you of its origins and the distances travelled.

Surinamese food, a piece of chocolate shared between us from the shop across the street for lunch.

7 December 2017

Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Global Table, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

Frites, black coffee, tomato and basil soup.

Merve Kılıçer’s biscuits from the local Turkish supermarket.

8 December 2017

The Way Beyond Art, and The Making of Modern Art, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

Six sandwiches from a sculptural tiered stand, a coffee, Victor Santamarina also ordered a soup as this wasn’t enough.

12 January 2018

Power and Other Things: Indonesia & Art (1835–Now), and Ancestors & Rituals: Europalia Indonesia, Bozar, Brussels

Ways of Seeing, Villa Empain, Brussels

Yoghurt, black coffee, banana.

Some olives.

Mouthful of Bobby Sayers’ tofu, broccoli, and red cabbage stir fry that he’d brought with him.

Pad Thai.

Frites, two Belgian beers.

21 March 2018

Paintings From Afar, Musée du Quai Branly

Neïl Beloufa, Kader Attia, and Jean-Jacques Lebel, L’Un et l’Autre, Palais de Tokyo

Camilla Wills, Tonight, Gaudel de Stampa, Paris

Latifa Echakhch, Les Figures; Claude Leveque, Mon Amie La Rose, Kamel Mennour

Mini chocolate easter eggs, Chinese food, water, coffee, pumpkin and cheese bun, Lebanese food, white wine, peanuts, olives, a Kir Royale.

22 March 2018

Akademia: Performing Life, Villa Vasilieff, Paris

Vivian Sky Rehberg’s tour of private galleries in Le Marais including: Max Hetzler, Marian Goodman, Chantal Carousel, gb agency, Campoli Presti, mor charpentier, Galerie Thomas Bernard/Cortex Athletico, Thaddeus Ropac, Perrotin, Galerie Eva Meyer.

This is Utopia, to Some, KADIST, Paris

Terrible croissants, pain au chocolat, horrible orange juice, bad coffee, bread, butter, apricot jam.

Tea and biscuits.

Tomato and basil salad, greek salad, baguette, cheese twist, water (shared with Sophie Bates), various mouthfuls of other people’s cakes and an espresso.

Macaron with Jan Verwoert, sneakily consumed in Perrotin.

White wine, cheese board.

Packet of crisps.

23 March 2018

Lutz Bacher, The Silence of the Sea, Lafayette Anticipations, Paris

Musee d’Orsay

Terrible croissants, pain au chocolat, horrible orange juice, bad coffee, bread, butter, apricot jam.

Very very good very very expensive double espresso at Lafayette Anticipations.

Very good cheese/tomato baguette/croissant-type pastry/sandwich.

Good wine, good cheese, good bread, cucumber, grapes, gherkins, and pastis at Sophie Varin’s house.

Lots of wine, some beer.

Extortionately overpriced frites shared with Larisa David, partially eaten sitting on a wall surrounded by rats the size of cats (got immediate indigestion).

6 April 2018

Discussion with Charles Esche, Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam

Sourdough bread with avocado, cream cheese, tomato, smoked salmon, black coffee, water, banana, and mango.