SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA), 75 3rd Street, now redeveloped

Barbara Smith, Feed Me (Night, 20th April 1973)



There was a room in MOCA that had been a ladies’ lounge when the space had been a printing company before I moved in. It was a little room where the women employees would rest or smoke or put on makeup. Barbara Smith chose that room and set it up for her performance. She put a mattress on the floor with a sheet on it. Next to it was a table with incense and oils and fruit and flowers. Barbara was naked on the bed, and a tape recorder kept playing the same thing: “Feed me, feed me, feed me,” over and over again. All night, there was a line outside the door, mostly men. A bare light bulb was hanging outside the door. It felt like a street corner. People went in one at a time to have a private session with Barbara. They had a glass of wine or a piece of fruit with her, or had a conversation, or gave her a massage, or had sex. (Marioni 2003: 101-2)

There were body oils and perfume in the room so that one person gave me a back rub. There was food and wine they could give me. There was music, flowers, shawls and beads and things like that. There was tea, books and grass. That is about all. And so as a person came into the room, he could choose anything he wanted to as a medium of interaction, and it was all a source of food – food meaning sustenance. This could include conversation and affection. (Smith in Loeffler and Tong 1980: 118)