Manuel Molina Martagon
On May 3, Manuel Molina Martagon will begin EL RECREO, a project that will turn Recess into a home base for restaurant workers, with diverse programming ranging from meals and entertainment to conversations and workshops addressing current issues faced by the food service community. Throughout the project, a rotating menu of comfort food made by the artist will be served free to any visitor who works in a restaurant.
Molina Martagon’s interest in the food industry workforce stems from the connection between his hometown, Puebla, and his current place of residence in New York City. New York City hosts the largest Poblano population of any location in the world. The City’s restaurant industry depends heavily on the labor of people from Puebla. Since the 80s, Poblano immigrants have made New York their destination, mastering preparation and presentation of international cuisines using the foundations of culinary tradition and sensibility from Mexico. Despite the trendiness of culinary subject matter, most of this labor is overlooked.
EL RECREO strives to give some recognition to the expansive talents and stories behind the people working in the food industry through an open call art exhibition, screenings, collaborations and performances from food industry professionals. This project extends beyond the Mexican community, and acknowledges the rich international exchanges that happen in restaurants. Hospitality, food and physical presence will be the main vehicles for interaction in EL RECREO. The project will become a gathering space to consider the industry beyond the restaurant patron/server relationship and the closed doors of the kitchen. Ultimately, EL RECREO seeks to cultivate a position of empathy and respect toward restaurant labor.
Molina Martagon would like to extend a special thanks to EL RECREO project revitalizer, Eeva-Riitta Eerola, and special collaborator, Arantxa Araujo.
Additional thanks to: Gita Blak, Alison Burstein, Miguel Torres Jr. y Familia, Daniela Garza, Daniel Ortiz de Montellano, Fany Gerson, Gerardo Muñoz, Constantino Ramales, Catherine Barnett, Michael Kumazuki, Dan Sanford, Carlos Gutierrez, Susana Camarena, Nilbia Coyote, Jimena Monjaras,Habitantes de Tlaxco, Caitlin Steinke, Erika Harrsch, Ryan Ford, Chris Held, Kristin Black, Sarah Hymanson, Daniel Nates, Christine Mutzenbecher, Carlos Velázquez, Armando Sánchez Merchant, Rosy Viñas, Meredith Phillips Almeida, Chad Purkey, Jeniffer Stokes, Prerana Reddy, Alex Severin, Leticia Gutierrez, Sheetal Prajapati, Miriam Simun, Lily Thai,Caterina Toscano, María Fernanda de la Torre, Alexia Nuñez, Claudia Jasso, Sonya Guimon, Lizania Cruz, Marlène Ramirez-Cancio, Juan López, Alfonso Félix, Marco Castro, Natalia Fidelholtz, Sara Guerrero, Ruby Gomez, Maayan Strauss, and Recess staff.
EL RECREO is supported by El Abuelito Inc., The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York Departamento de Asuntos Comunitarios, Qualitas of Life Foundation, and Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York.
About the artist
Manuel Molina Martagon
On view: November 11, 2023–January 25, 2024
Marcela Torres and Assembly
September 14–November 10, 2023
KING COBRA and Hue Hallums