A party with Jennifer Rubell can happen anywhere, any time, and at a moment’s notice,” renowned chef Mario Batali has been quoted as saying. “She’s the perfect modern hostess.” On Oct. 30, to open the Performa 09performance art biennial, Rubell will be displaying that skill on a scale that maybe not even Batali could imagine.
As part of what she terms an “interactive food journey,” Rubell — a writer, hotelier, and member of the famed Miami art-collecting family — will transform the X Initiatives space at 548 West 22nd Street into a fantastical wonderland of food and drink from New York chefs and food specialists.
Adam Perry Lang of Daisy May's BBQ will provide 2,000 pounds of ribs (as well as vegetarian alternatives) for guests to eat as honey drips from the ceiling. Piles of peanuts and ice cubes will also weigh in at 2,000 pounds each, available to accompany the industrial elevator stocked with liquor that will begin on the 4th floor and descend to underlying floors as the feast continues.
The fête concludes on the second floor, where chocolatier Jacques Torres will have seven chocolate copies of Jeff Koons balloon rabbits. Those looking for a healthier treat will be able to pluck apples fresh from the branches of three trees cut down and shipped into the space for the event.
Organizers seem to have anticipated accusations of staging art world excess with a few key details. The $300 tickets will help cover the costs of Performa, and, since there is likely too be too much food even for the around 500 ticket holders, organizers say they plan to donate surplus food to local shelters, along with the pots that were used for the project. Even the apple trees will find a second use: They'll be chopped up and sent off to a restaurant in Brooklyn to fuel the kitchen’s oven.