The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in 1972

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in 1972

  The restaurant FOOD was Soho at the beginning. And it is central to the new Artist's World tour in the sense that the tour doesn't use the word "juxtaposition," "derivative" or "brush stroke" in its narrative.

  The tour is more about their world, not necessarily their work. You can get that elsewhere, or at a museum or out of a book. Not many books feature what Pop or Minimalist artists ate for dinner. But that kind of stuff is important to any culture or civilization.  

  As the New York Times put so well in the obituary for FOOD co-creator and downtown artist Gordon Matta-Clark, "The restaurant lasted not quite three years in its original incarnation, as the artists who cooked in it and who ran it, more as a utopian enterprise than a business, burned out or moved on.

  "But many of the vaguely countercultural ideas fostered there — fresh and seasonal foods, a geographically catholic menu, a kitchen fully open to the dining room, cooking as a kind of performance — have now become so ingrained in restaurants in New York and other large cities that it is hard to remember a time when such a place would have seemed almost extraterrestrial....

  "Artists were also invited weekly to serve as guest chefs, and the whole dinner was considered a performance art piece. One of the most fabled, costing $4, was Matta-Clark’s 'bone dinner,' which featured oxtail soup, roasted marrow bones and frogs’ legs, among other bony entrees. After the plates were cleared, the bones were scrubbed and strung together so that diners could wear their leftovers home.

  " 'It looked like an anthropological site,' said the artist Keith Sonnier, another guest chef and a member of the extended FOOD crowd, one that also included members of Philip Glass’s ensemble, dancers from Trisha Brown’s company and other artists like Robert Kushner and Donald Judd, who lived in SoHo before it was called SoHo."

  Learn more about FOOD, what the artists ate, and where they lived, worked, played and drank on the new tour, Save the Village: The Artist's World.

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets today. It is branch of Lululemon, the high end (is there any other end?) yoga gear store - but only men's clothes. Ladies are in the store across the street. Barf.

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets today. It is branch of Lululemon, the high end (is there any other end?) yoga gear store - but only men's clothes. Ladies are in the store across the street. Barf.