Enemy Kitchen is an ongoing collaboration between Michael Rakowitz and his Iraqi-Jewish mother, in which he compiles Baghdadi recipes and teaches them to different public audiences. For the first incarnation of the project, Rakowitz cooked with a group of middle school and high school students who live in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York and participate in programs at the Hudson Guild Community Center. The project functioned as a social sculpture: while cooking and eating, the students engaged each other on the topic of the war and drew parallels with their own lives, at times making comparisons with bullies in relation to how they perceive the conflict. Future plans include a pilot for an Enemy Kitchen cooking show, featuring Rakowitz and the students from Hudson Guild, to be broadcast on public access television and online, and a series of lessons for New York City public school cafeteria chefs, to help them serve Iraqi food as part of their everyday menus.
Michael Rakowitz is a Chicago-based installation and public artist. His work has appeared in venues worldwide including P.S.1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, and Transmediale 05 in Berlin. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Freid Projects in New York, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, and Stadtturmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck. He is the recipient of a Sharjah Biennial Jury’s Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Dena Foundation Award, and the Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. Rakowitz is an Associate Professor in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.