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Proyecto Paladar

Proyecto Paladar
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Havana Biennial visitors and locals will enjoy a meal prepared by a paired team of New York and paladar chefs.


Proyecto Paladar 
Presented by Alberto Magnan of Magnan Metz Gallery and
curator Elizabeth M. Grady.
Artist/Architect Craig Shillitto  

Paladar (plural: paladares) is a term used to refer to restaurants run by self-employers. These are mostly family-run businesses run out of private homes using residential cooking equipment.  

Proyecto Paladar is a performance artwork consisting of a food and cooking installation that will be recreated in various international locations. At each destination, ten top New York City chefs will travel and pair with ten local chefs to collaborate on the invention, purveying, and serving of a unique menu. Visiting and local participants will dine together in an exchange that promotes shared understanding through a culinary framework.  As the project progresses, photographs of participants will be framed and displayed, creating a kind of impromptu portrait gallery which contributes to the visual dynamism of the social sculpture.  

Conceived by Craig Shillitto in response to the Biennial theme, “Artistic Practices and Social Imagination” (Prácticas artísticas e imaginarios sociales), this project promotes social and cultural exchange through the staging of an ambitious artistic intervention during the 11th Havana Biennial, 2012. The project has been accepted by the Biennial administration, the Cuban Government, the agency of Habana Vieja, and the Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art, which will host the project within its facility. Its strength is reflected in the fact that Proyecto Paladar has been selected to be prominently featured at the front of the official Biennial catalog.  

Confirmed chef participants to date are:
Sarah Jenkins, Porsena, Porchetta (Chef Director for the project)
Marco Canora, Hearth, Terroir
Mark Ladner, Del Posto
Anita Lo, Annisa, Top Chef
Sisha Ortúzar, Riverpark
Michael Paley, Proof
Tamara Reynolds, Sunday Night Dinner
Pierre Thiam, Le Grand Dakar
Sue Torres, Sueños  

Drawing on his extensive experience as an architect with 15 years in restaurant design and as an artist, Mr. Shillitto has created a framework for a collaboration of many partners in many disciplines. This central paladar concept will facilitate cultural exchange, seen through the lens of food. Locals and visitors will engage in construction, cooking, and dining in a spirit of mutual understanding based on their personal experiences.  

Dining: For ten days at a time, ten New York based chefs of the highest caliber will be matched with ten paladar chefs. They will share techniques and recipes, trading experiences and ideas. Visitors from abroad will be paired with resident citizens to share a meal and thereby become diner participants in the project.  Facing one another across a table with six seats on one side and six on the other, they will enjoy the hybrid food created especially for them by the collaborative team of New York and local chefs.  With the aid of provided translation assistance, diners will trade stories and experiences. Their meals, conversations, and the overall performance will be documented and displayed in an on-site gallery: each seating will be photographed and printed on-site, and then signed by all diners and immediately framed and hung in the interior of the dining room in the common, international tradition of many restaurants.  

The Book: The project will be documented as a bilingual art and cookbook. The volume will include a minimum of one recipe by each chef for a total of twenty recipes per iteration, as well as biographical pictures and text about the chefs. Also included will be process studies for the project, working drawings, photographs of the installation and essays by art and food professionals. Additional vignettes on a wide range of related topics like urban and organic farming, and local food markets and traditions of purveying will be featured throughout the book. Any proceeds from book sales will be used to cover the production costs for the book and project.  

Artist Biography: Craig Shillitto received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon in 1991, and a post-professional Masters Degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1996. While at the University of Oregon he also received fine art instruction, and has a long history of engagement with art. In addition to collaborating in the realization of many art spaces and art projects, he has been involved in significant international exhibitions, including the 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009) and the Biennial of the Canary Islands (Bienal de Canarias) (2009). Current projects include a significant urban intervention in the barrios of Quito, Ecuador, which will result in a book publication and exhibition at the new Center for Contemporary Art (Centro Ecuatoriano de Arte Contemporaneo) and, as part of Harrison Atelier, the installation Pharmacophore at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, which was a hybrid of sculpture and set design. He has built well over forty buildings and architectural projects in the United States and abroad.  

Curator Biography: Elizabeth M. Grady, Ph.D., is Program Manager of smARTpower, a U.S. State Department-funded initiative run by the Bronx Museum. She is Adjunct Professor of Art History at F.I.T./SUNY. Recent exhibitions and projects include curating The Situation, for the Moscow Biennale (2009), producing its full-length catalogue, acting as Associate Curator for the Second Biennial of the Canary Islands (2009), and project coordination of a major Matthew Ritchie archiving and conservation project. She has curated many exhibitions in the United States, and has held positions in the curatorial departments of various institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Publications include Matthew Ritchie: More than the eye (Rizzoli, 2009), and essays for numerous exhibition catalogues.

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