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 91 of 147

ON THE TOWN RIGHT: William J. O'Brien chats with Naomi Beckwith about his upcoming exhibition at MCA, which Beckwith is curating. BELOW: Mana Food Bar's Bi Bim Bop, a lighter version of the traditional Korean dish. "There's a variety of taste between the items, so you can design flavors from eating here." —WILLIAM J. O'BRIEN continued from page 88 NB: [Laughs] Which is really funny because I'm always starstruck when I meet artists. WO: Really? [Eating salad] The curry seasoning in this dish has a wonderful crispness to it, but it also has a nice aftertaste. NB: [Eating pickled fruit] I'm a big fan of pickles; I pickle all the time. I just grab stuff and throw it in a Mason jar. [Laughs] I love the flavors. [Sesame noodles are served] How would you describe William's exhibit? NB: The first word I would use is "collaboration." I'm very much the curator, but the most exciting thing for me in working with relatively young artists is to be able to promote, and I get to work with them. You get to build a narrative together. WO: It's important to have another person involved to negotiate this idea of what other people see. What's nice about being able to work together on this project is that we're able to go into each other's world, and that collaboration is reflected in the 90 show, where neither of us has full autonomy. NB: The key in that collaborative mode is we'll trust the viewers to come to their own conclusions to address the objects. WO: Art is the starting point. The objects are the vehicle for greater conversation and discussion, and the discussions that come of that are impeccable or not, depending on each person, which is the object and their way of viewing it. NB: You almost need to tell your audience that coming into the show: "This is the beginning of a conversation." [Eating sesame noodles] This is super well-executed. There's a salad underneath, so you get the starch and protein on top, and then you lighten the palate with a bit of salad. WO: There's a variety of taste between the items, so you can design flavors from eating here. NB: That's a lovely way of putting it. Do you cook? WO: Not very much. NB: I cook all the time. WO: Well, that goes with curating. Art is about subtle listening, and cooking is related to this idea of listening—being aware of what you're adding, and balancing that out. NB: And I don't dine out for convenience; I dine out for the experience. You want to go someplace where they're really thoughtful— WO: How they choose the ingredients, and mindful portions. What else is in store in 2014—any resolutions? NB: I resolve not to resolve—mostly because I forget, so then I feel like I'm lying to myself. WO: As they say in yoga and meditation practice, if you have a daily practice, you have a daily intention, so this idea of resolution is more effective on a more subtle level than it is on a grander. NB: It's more to reassess. [Bi Bim Bop is served] NB: Speaking of resolutions, I think you've got to resolve your work for this show! [Laughs] WO: There's this perception of vegetarian dishes being bland or overly processed— NB: And having to sacrifice taste for eating well. [Tofu is served] NB: The tofu, by the way—is it made here? Server: We outsource our tofu; it's based in Uptown. NB: I love it. It's local. [Laughs] Grilled to perfection. Tofu is interesting: People say it's flavorless, but it totally absorbs the flavor if done right, and they have done it right. WO: It's very good. I like a little bit of the shiitake seasoning—it's savory, but also light. You have to prepare it very lightly, and you don't have to overdo it. NB: Well, the key also is getting the water out. Get the water out, and then it literally acts like a sponge. 'Cause I can make it—I told you, I can cook! MA MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 088-090_MA_Taste_OTT_Winter2014.indd 90 11/20/13 11:10 AM

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