EL INTERNACIONAL (1984-1986). New York s Archaeological Sandwich(Updated version)
The first restaurant to serve tapas in the United States was more than just a restaurant. El Internacional, an artistic project by artist Antoni Miralda and chef Montse Guillén, soon became an icon of New York’s downtown scene of the 1980s. This is the story of a project that transformed dining experiences into installations and performance art, setting a precedent for the social practice art to come.
More than anything else, the restaurant was a creative process, where all team members and their customers played equally important roles in blurring the boundaries between food, art, design, architecture, and the mass media.
This highly illustrated book reviews the history of the restaurant, exploring its architecture and style, and recording the events that took place there as evoked by those who actually made them happen. Moreover, besides sharing El Internacional’s most successful recipes, menus and memorabilia, it portrays the urban history of a city in continuous transition.
Miralda was born in Terrassa, Barcelona, in 1942 where he grew up in the atmosphere of a textil manufacturing town. After military service, he moved to Paris in 1962, beginning his work in photography and starting to create sculptural objects and edible art sculptures. The small-scale work evolved into large constructions in public sites while the private events grew into complex public ceremonial events involving food, ritual and color. In 1971 he moved to New York, and since then he has lived and worked in the United States and Europe creating public art and participatory events and installations.
His projects have engaged international art audiences in Documenta, at his retrospective exhibition in Barcelona and Valencias IVAM, the Venice Biennale, the Food Pavilion at EXPO 2000 in Hannover and the recent retrospective exhibition presented at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
His street events in Paris, New York, Miami, Kansas City and Las Vegas, among others, have introduced Miraldas work to the general public.
He is currently developing the Food Culture Museum a virtual collection exploring the connections between food, popular culture, and art.
El Internacional (often still referred to “El Teddy’s”) marked a pivotal shift in New York’s acceptance of an art world which had moved beyond the strict geographical and artistic location of New York City, and which had finally become, well, international.
Alanna Heiss Founder and Director, Clocktower Productions; Founder and former Director, MoMA PS1
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