The “do it” exhibition—having spread exponentially across the world since its inception in 1993—asks artists to create instructions so that others may execute their work. For example, in 2004 the ever-playful Maurizio Cattelan’s entry read as follows: “The curator or organizer of the exhibition must wear only his/her underwear and shoes at the opening of the show.” After 20 iterations of the project, conceived by ubiquitous curator and renowned critic Hans Ulrich Obrist in ’93, a look to early chapters recalls Marina Abramović’s aphrodisiac recipes from Spirit Cooking and Stephen Kaltenbach’s literally commanding time capsules (“OPEN BEFORE DEACCESSION,” they demand) both available on Artsy in limited editions by Independent Curators International.
Inside a handmade, maple wood box, Abramovic—the self-proclaimed grandmother of performance art—revisits her now out-of-print provocative culinary carousal: “Please dress yourself in the apron, open the book, and begin to realize the artist’s instructions of your choice,” she asks. Heeding her command, you’ll flip the pages of the catalogue to discover recipes to choose from at will. “Mix Fresh Milk From The Breast, With Fresh Milk Of The Sperm, Drink on Earthquake Nights,” she suggests.
Kaltenbach, notorious for his pre-Warhol Time Capsules, offers a series of sealed stainless steel capsules engraved with instructions for the owner—each capsule a unique piece whose contents are known solely by the artist. With three simple words, “OPEN BEFORE DEACCESSION,” Kaltenbach recalls the anonymous, often full-page ads he placed in Artforum in the late ’60s, urging readers to “BECOME A LEGEND” among other ambitious feats.
Marina Abramovic, Spirit Cooking, 1996, Courtesy: Marina Abramovic, do it: the compendium (ICI and D.A.P, May 2013).