The Paris Review

The Starving Artist’s Cookbook

For some young artists trying to make it, starving is a rite of passage; for others, it is a permanent state of dedication, or a financial necessity. No matter the reasons, the starving artist is a timeless figure, present in every era of every society, socialist or capitalist, boom or bust. But the starving artist of New York in the seventies and eighties holds a special place in the cultural imagination.

On Sunday, I cleaved my way through the sweaty, contemporary crowds at the New York Art Book Fair, hosted at MoMA PS1, to see an exhibition of “: The Starving Artist’s Cookbook Archive 1986–1991.” The cookbook was put together between, an artist duo of Paul Lamarre and Melissa Wolf. , comes from the Greek , for “kind, and is intended as an acronym for, among other things, “Everything I Do Is Art” and “Every Individual Does Individual Art.” The cookbook—a thick stack of typewritten pages bound with three rings—had an original print run of five hundred. It featured 161 “recipes,” some real and some strange, from artists including Peter Beard, Louise Bourgeois, John Cage, Quentin Crisp, William Wegman, and Lawrence Weiner. The project was also a video series. filmed the artists cooking in their studios, and the original series ran to nine hours. The book is now a collector’s item, and this exhibition, presented by the rare-book purveyor Arthur Fournier, displayed individual pages next to old photos and the videos shot. 

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review1 min read
Harold Bloom, 1930–2019
Harold Bloom.(photo: Nancy Crampton) Harold Bloom, one of the most popular and controversial critics in American literature, died Monday at age eighty-nine. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the author of more than forty books, inclu
The Paris Review7 min read
Eye Of The Beholder
Alice Mattison reckons with the impacts of macular degeneration … Rembrandt, self-portrait, 1660 (modified) My mother thought children should visit museums, and back in the fifties, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was free. The Egyptian tomb was satis
The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: The Deep Well of Other Beings
Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Re