ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 89 of 147

ON THE TOWN CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Naomi Beckwith and William J. O'Brien toast the Chicago art scene; Asian-influenced dishes such as maki are served in Mana Food Bar's dining room. VEG FEST What: Asian-inspired vegetarian dishes such as sesame noodles, Bi Bim Bop, and pickled fruit. When: A sunny weekday afternoon. Where: Mana Food Bar, 1742 W. Division St., 773-342-1742; The Big Picture CHICAGO ART LUMINARIES AND COLLABORATORS NAOMI BECKWITH AND WILLIAM J. O'BRIEN COMMUNE OVER VEGETARIAN CUISINE IN WICKER PARK. BY MEG MATHIS PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATHAN KIRKMAN S ince joining the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator Naomi Beckwith has gained renown for thought-provoking exhibits like "Homebodies," an examination of the role of domesticity in art. Beckwith's latest project is "William J. O'Brien," the artist's first major survey exhibition, which opens January 25 at the MCA. In addition to their mutual passion for art, Beckwith and O'Brien—whose preferred media include drawings, paintings, ceramics, and textiles—share a foodie's enthusiasm for vegetarian fare. Recently the duo met with Michigan Avenue at Division Street's Mana Food Bar, where the discussion centered on staying mindful of both appetite and art as they welcome the New Year. 88 Naomi, why did you suggest we meet here? Naomi Beckwith: Bill suggested that we come here. It had been on my list, but I hadn't been yet. William O'Brien: They have a really good selection of smaller and larger plates. It's hard to find good vegetarian restaurants; a lot of people come here who aren't vegetarian, but the food is so good. Are you both vegetarian? WO: I'm mostly, but not all. Are you? NB: I'm completely vegetarian. I've been veggie— like a lot of folks—since high school. My mother's side of the family is vegetarian, so some of my vegetarianism is family-based, but for me there were all sorts of ethical reasons to keep with it. It's better for the earth, but above all— WO: Nutrition, and balance.... A lot of yoga practitioners come here. It's healthy, and they have a sake list, too—a little bit of everything. [Pickled fruit; avocado, arugula, and tomato salad; and maki are served] How did you two meet? WO: Naomi had just moved back to Chicago for her position. Eventually, we started working on this [survey] project, and that evolved into this show [at the MCA]. I wrote an e-mail that basically said, "If you want to hang out and not talk about work, we don't have to talk business." We're both involved in the art world, but we also hadn't crossed paths for whatever reason. I was a little intimidated because there was this aura about you coming back to your hometown and taking over. continued on page 90 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 088-090_MA_Taste_OTT_Winter2014.indd 88 11/20/13 11:10 AM

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