In 1996, Mary Ellen Carroll's Itinerant Gastronomy project began when the artist serendipitously acquired five hundred oysters, which were shared with friends and passers-by before a lower Manhattan storefront.
Since then, Carroll has staged meals on a construction site, in an art gallery, and on New York's High Line (pre-renovation) -- all with the intention of bringing people together for site-specific discussion and food. In January of 2012, Open Outcry, the most recent iteration of Itinerant Gastronomy, commissioned for Feast, was staged in the Financial Gallery at CME Group, above the Chicago Board of Trade. Seated at a custom-designed circular table able to be moved into various configurations -- a result of Carroll's collaboration with architect Simon Dance -- guests engaged in various ways with economics, art, and social justice shared food and conversation. With each of five subsequent courses came a new topic of discussion -- communication, commodity, policy, taste, and intention.
A collection of material from the history of Itinerant Gastronomy -- including transcripts, menus, photographs, a video of Open Outcry, and the specially designed seating used for its performance -- is on view with Feast through June 10.