This Gray Center Mellon Collaborative Fellowship brings together artist Antonio Miralda and University of Chicago Anthropologist Stephan Palmié as they explore the intersection between food, art, and other forms of cultural exchange. This project also includes “Foodcultura: The Art and Anthropology of Cuisine,” a team-taught course with a particular focus on "Chicago's diverse and complex alimentary and gustatory worlds" being offered in Fall 2019.
Antoni Miralda was born in Terrassa (Barcelona) in 1942. After spending two years in Paris and two in London, in 1966 he settled in the French capital until 1972, when he moved to New York. He currently lives between Miami and Barcelona. In the sixties, with the so-called ‘Paris Catalans’ (Joan Rabascall, Jaume Xifra, Benet Rossell and Dorothée Selz) he organised a series of happenings or collective rituals around ceremonial food from the perspective of colour and symbolism. Initially in collaboration with Dorothée Selz, and from 1972 with the museum keeper and chef Montse Guillén, he made food the object of his artistic work. Over the years, he has created large installations in a non-conformist language that is lively, baroque and kitsch and which brings art to life. In major works like Honeymoon Project, a symbolic marriage between the statue of Columbus in Barcelona and the Statue of Liberty in New York, he uses a universal activity such as food to carry out a deconstruction of prejudices in a world that is already global. Many of his works promote collective participation in a context of play and partying. His gastronomic ethnology has received widespread international recognition. Since 2000, Miralda has focused on the FoodCulturaMuseum, an archive of multiple projects based on research and reflection around food diversity and its relation to the cultures of the world. Based in Miami and Barcelona, he explores and disseminates food culture through audiovisual material, music, books, furniture and all types of documents.
Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College, conducts ethnographic and historical research on Afro-Caribbean cultures, with an emphasis on Afro-Cuban religious formations and their relations to the history and cultures of a wider Atlantic world. His other interests include practices of historical representation and knowledge production, systems of slavery and unfree labor, constructions of race and ethnicity, conceptions of embodiment and moral personhood, medical anthropology, and the anthropology of food and cuisine.