Art-ickle: Barbara T. Smith, ‘Feed Me’ (1973)

Stumbled upon today at ‘The Historical Box’ (curated by Mara McCarthy) at Hauser & Wirth, Piccadilly…

Barbara T. Smith, Feed Me, 1973

“This piece took place between sunset and sunrise at the Museum of Conceptual Art in San Francisco during an event called “All Night Sculptures,” in the women’s rest room of that 1920s building. The relatively large room had a single toilet behind a door and a washbasin at one end. I sat naked on a divan surrounded by items of sensual connection (bread, fruit, drinks, books to read, massage oils and perfumes, tea and coffee, beads and ornaments, marijuana, etc.) and one person at a time was allowed to enter. A tape loop in a corner played my voice saying: “Feed Me” over and over. Rumor had it that I intended to make love with every man who entered. My intention was instead to turn the situation around so the man would be challenged to figure out what would please me and offer it. It was a request for subtlety, sensuousness and complexity rather than mere lust. I was given every nuance of the room’s potential, which included making love, in a sequence of super-intensified encounters (due to the heightened awareness and focused intensity of the piece and the context of the times). Sixteen men and three women came in.”

The Historical Box’ closes tomorrow and the Hauser & Wirth guys are on a summer break until Monday 13th August. But pop along after that if you get the chance, the place is great – it’s an old bank with vaults and everything…

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