A tuna sandwich (we hope it was sustainable albacore) is the centerpiece of what’s become a longstanding ritual or experiment in art, reports Randy Kennedy for The New York Times.
The latest venue: the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Strangers “signed up to be part of a well-documented piece of digestible performance art called “Identical Lunch,” which has been performed frequently around New York and the world since 1968,” Kennedy writes. “That was the year that Alison Knowles, one of the founders of the Fluxus movement — which was really less a movement than a loose affiliation of artists in the ’60s who had a formidable influence on generations of artists that followed — started eating lunch regularly, and unvaryingly, at Riss diner on Eighth Avenue near 23rd Street in Chelsea.”
Knowles’ order never changed and it included – what else? – tuna on whole wheat. A goal of Fluxus was “to knock down fences between making art and living life,” Kennedy explains.
Daily routines – raising children, taking neighborhood walks, reading and sharing time with our families, working – too often are taken for granted. It’s easy to ignore the routines, until they vanish – we move, we lose a job, our children grow, we age – and then the routines are painfully missed.
As Knowles showed, we can turn any of our daily routines into art. That’s what we try to do with every can and fillet of St. Jude tuna.
And read to the end of the article if you don’t think this art & design critique by Kennedy is not about tuna and routines. Knowles displays her ability to analyze the routine, Kennedy shows his mastery at writing. Routines can surprise with special moments, but we must be vigilant. And the article ends on tuna – but reveals the emptiness for people who refuse to recognize the treasure of routine.
Where is art? Art is everywhere … even in your tuna sandwich! Also, Google Earth is bringing the great museums to your nearest computer.