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Bring this mobile food truck/art project to the MCA where U.S. veterans will serve free Iraqi dishes at community events.
399 backers pledged $30,499 to help bring this project to life.
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Enemy Kitchen is a public art project by Michael Rakowitz that explores the relationship between hospitality and hostility. Rakowitz and his mother collected and compiled recipes from the Baghdad area. These recipes are turned into dishes which are served by U.S. veterans of the Iraq War from a food truck designed by the artist.  

The Enemy Kitchen project began in 2003 in New York City as a way for food to spark dialogue around Iraq in new ways, ultimately taking form as a food truck.

In storage since its last food service in 2012, the food truck has been victim to theft, graffiti, and other damage. We want to restore and repair the truck, bring it up to code, and park it on the front plaza of the MCA Chicago, where it will serve free food for the local community during pop-up activations during the exhibition.

Enemy Kitchen will be a key part of Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West, a major exhibition and the artist’s first U.S. museum survey, which will open at the MCA on September 16, 2017.

Why is this Important?

Sharing a meal or a recipe is something that everyone can experience, no matter where they are in the world. Likewise, art has the power to connect people across geography, language, and culture. Bringing these two elements together, Enemy Kitchen will allow people to support, access, and experience a Middle Eastern food culture that was (and is still) disrupted by the Iraq War.

What will your contributions support? 

As the MCA prepared for Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West, it was clear that Enemy Kitchen was an important part of his art career and had to be a part of the exhibition. But there was a problem. After Enemy Kitchen’s last food service in 2012 the truck was put into storage in the parking lot of Babylon, a restaurant in North Chicago. Despite being locked up, the truck was broken into, stolen from, and vandalized with messages of hate. Mechanically the vehicle would not start, aesthetically it was damaged, and wasn’t up to preparing or serving food—Enemy Kitchen’s situation was dire. 

If we work together, we can put Enemy Kitchen back on the road, bring it up to city code for working food trucks, and restore it as an artwork. This campaign will also support a full schedule of free community events where the truck will serve Iraqi cuisine to the public, for free.

Why Kickstarter? 

By pairing with Kickstarter, the MCA hopes to reach a larger audience for Michael Rakowitz’s art and ideas— even if you cannot visit the truck or taste the food created there, you can make a meal using the Enemy Kitchen recipe cards or while wearing the apron and support the dialogue created around some of the most pressing issues our world faces. In this way the MCA is creating a forum for the public to interact with the artwork itself, no matter where they are since preparing and eating the meals is essential to the artwork itself.

Kickstarter Rewards

As thanks for supporting the project, Kickstarter backers can receive a variety of rewards connected to Enemy Kitchen. Preview the rewards here; as some rewards are currently being created, not all rewards are shown but we will update as they are produced. 

 Saddam Hussein Replica Paperware 5-pack: $15 or more

 Meal Ticket and Museum Admission for One: $25 or more

 "Backstroke of the West" Catalog: $35 or more

 "Bless Your Hands" Kubba Spoon: $35 or more

Sabreen: Live in Jerusalem LP: $60 or more

 Enemy Kitchen Apron and Recipes: $75 or more

 Chicago-Iraqi Flag: $2,500 or more

 Shopping Trip with Michael Rakowitz: $5,000 or more

About Michael Rakowitz  

Based in Chicago, Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973) makes work that explores recent contested social, political, and cultural histories. Drawing on personal experiences and research on these subjects, as well as history and popular culture, Rakowitz creates illustrated objects, installations, and performances that invite viewers to contemplate their complicit relationship to the political world around them, recognizing that hospitality and hostility are interlinked.

About the MCA Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) is one of Chicago’s major museums and one of the nation’s largest facilities devoted to the art of our time. The MCA is an artist-activated and audience-engaged contemporary art museum. We generate art, ideas, and conversation around the creative process. We are a cultural leader of local necessity and international distinction.

This campaign is endorsed by an independent jury selected by Art Basel.

Risks and challenges

Kickstarter community support will be essential in the complete restoration of Enemy Kitchen and a full schedule of free food service events for the community on the MCA Plaza. Without the support of the Kickstarter backers, we will have to pare back the free community events to a bare minimum.

Many of the rewards have been produced already and are currently in Michael Rakowitz's collection, or they can be reproduced easily since they would take the form of a work created in the past. The MCA will be responsible for administering the rewards which will be shipped as speedily as possible.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Enemy Kitchen Supporter!

    Thanks so much for your support from the MCA Chicago and Michael Rakowitz! Backers at this level receive exclusive behind-the-scenes updates as the Enemy Kitchen rolls out on the streets of Chicago. Plus, your name will be included on a list of backers on the MCA website.

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    37 backers
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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Video Tour and Enemy Kitchen Recipes

    Get a look at the MCA’s presentation of “Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West” from anywhere with this video tour of the exhibition, made available only to Kickstarter backers at this level. We’ll also provide digital recipes from the Enemy Kitchen. These Baghdadi recipes were collected by Michael Rakowitz with the help of his mother, and we’ll send them to you to enjoy and share with friends and family.

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    53 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    Saddam Hussein Replica Paperware 5-Pack

    As part of his project ‘Spoils’ (2011), Michael Rakowitz prepared a meal served on fine china looted from Saddam Hussein’s palace. In reference to this work and what it means to dine with an “Enemy,” food from the Enemy Kitchen is served on paperware replicas of Saddam Hussein’s china. Backers at this level receive a 5-pack of paper plates that looks like Hussein's china for their own collection and use.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 31 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Meal Ticket and Museum Admission for One

    Food service from the Enemy Kitchen Food Truck is free to the public. This meal ticket secures your priority place for one service and grants complementary admission to all the exhibitions at the MCA Chicago. Visit the Enemy Kitchen Food Truck and see the exhibition “Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West” in the same day!

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    Limited 17 backers
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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    "Backstroke of the West" Catalog

    This publication documents the exhibition at the MCA, which is Michael Rakowitz’s first museum survey. The catalog is a retrospective of Rakowitz’s work and includes writings from MCA Manilow Senior Curator Omar Kholeif.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 20 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Meal Ticket and Museum Admission for Two

    Same as the above ($25 level), but this package reserves two meals and admission to the MCA Chicago to be enjoyed by you and a friend.

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    Limited 9 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Sabreen: Live In Jerusalem LP

    This vinyl LP was recorded and created in tangent with Michael Rakowitz’s artwork “The Breakup” 2010—a ten-part radio series commissioned for Radio Amwaj in Ramallah, Palestine. The Breakup considers the intricacies of The Beatles’ 1969 disbanding as an example of a collaboration that grinds to a halt amid unraveling negotiations and failed communication. Only 500 were printed on blue color vinyl. Includes a magazine-style track listing and poster.

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    6 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Enemy Kitchen Apron and Recipes

    Look the part of an Enemy Kitchen chef with a custom-made chef’s apron. Prominently displaying the Enemy Kitchen’s iconic eagle logo, this reward was made in limited supply for backers at this level. Also included are the Enemy Kitchen recipe cards to try at home.

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    Limited 24 backers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Enemy Kitchen Experience Package

    At this level you will receive the custom Enemy Kitchen apron, all the recipe cards, plus a meal ticket and museum admission for one. Enjoy all the Enemy Kitchen has to offer with thanks from the MCA!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 15 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Invitation to Curator-led Tour

    A contribution at this level secures your attendance (plus one) to a curator-led tour of “Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West”. Visit the exhibition and learn about the retrospective of Michael Rakowitz’s work in an intimate setting with an MCA Staff Curator.

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    Limited 4 backers
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Dinner Reception and Signed Catalog

    For this generous gift, the MCA will open an invitation for you and one guest to a formal dinner and reception with MCA donors and Michael Rakowitz prior to the opening of “Backstroke of the West”. The MCA will also include an exhibition catalog signed by Michael.

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    Limited 3 backers
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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Chicago-Iraqi Flag

    Own a piece of the artwork! For each Enemy Kitchen event, the staff will fly this custom-made Chicago flag made in Iraqi colors over the food truck. You could own this signature part of the Enemy Kitchen.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Shopping Trip with Michael Rakowitz

    Backers at this level will be invited to a one-of-a-kind shopping trip at the Devon Market, a Middle Eastern grocery in the North Chicago area, led by Michael Rakowitz. Donors will get to meet Michael at the market and share in some of his favorite Middle Eastern products and recipes.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Enemy Kitchen Recipe Cards

    Get all the recipes from the Enemy Kitchen printed and delivered to you on custom card stationary featuring the Enemy Kitchen logo.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 75 backers
    $

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  15. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    "Bless Your Hands" Kubba Spoon

    As a way of thanking his mother for her help preparing the recipes, Michael Rakowitz had a Kubba spoon made for her with the Arabic inscription “Bless Your Hands”. In Iraq, it is customary to say this phrase to a chef when you have enjoyed their meal. The MCA has a made a limited run of replicas to share the phrase and tradition with our backers on Kickstarter.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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  16. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Meal Ticket and Museum Admission for Two

    Same as the above ($25 level), but this package reserves two meals and admission to the MCA Chicago to be enjoyed by you and a friend.

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)