Glass House Presents: Le Corbuffet

In 2014, while engaged in research for her doctorate, artist Esther Choi discovered an elaborate menu, designed by László Moholy-Nagy, for a dinner in tribute to Walter Gropius. Inspired by the artifact’s reflection on the elite social circle of these cultural workers, she began to consider food as a medium to explore questions of history, value and cultural capital in her work. From 2015 to 2017, she hosted a series of participatory art events in her Brooklyn apartment, which featured absurd, pun-inspired dishes that riffed on canonical artists, architects and designers to parody the notion of “cultural consumption.” Based on these events, she produced an artist’s book entitled Le Corbuffet (Prestel 2019), which adopted the protocols of cookbook publishing to further explore the cultural narratives that relate to the values that we choose to consume and reproduce. Upon its release, Le Corbuffet instantly entered the cultural water supply, appearing in publications such as T: The New York Times Style MagazineVanity FairDezeen, and Vogue, and earning a James Beard nomination this past spring. This talk by Choi addresses how Le Corbuffet aspired to operate as a shape-shifting object navigating mainstream distribution networks, along with her interest in how artworks can pose as Trojan horses to question the values of cultural democracy.

Esther Choi was trained in photography and architectural history and theory. Her work adopts different formats: from photographs and artist’s books to installations, videos and essays. Bridging disciplines, her work has focused on co-opting quotidian formats, ordinary materials and circulation networks to probe the historical and political dimensions of social and environmental structures. Choi’s writing has appeared in ArtforumArt Papers, and PIN-UP, and in publications for Walker Art Center, ETH Zurich, and Library Stack / Oslo Triennale. Born in Toronto, she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Glass House Presents is an ongoing series of talks, performances, and other live events that extend the site’s historic role as a gathering place for artists, architects, and other creative minds. This series is supported by Connecticut Humanities and the New Canaan Community Foundation.