Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Argentina) is a Thai artist celebrated as one of the most influential of his generation. He received his BA from the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, in 1984, and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. In 1985 to 1986, he participated in the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York. Winner of the 2005 Hugo Boss Prize awarded by the Guggenheim Museum, Tiravanija was also awarded the Benesse by the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Japan and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucelia Artist Award. His work defies media-based description, as his practice combines traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social action. Tiravanija is best known for his intimate, participatory installations that revolve around personal and shared communal traditions, such as cooking Thai meals, that are, in the words of curator Rochelle Steiner, “fundamentally about bringing people together.” At the forefront of the shift in avant-garde art practices in the 1990s away from traditional art objects and toward “relational aesthetics” that incorporate diverse cultural spaces, practices, and temporalities, Tiravanija has continually challenged and expanded the social dimension of art, inviting people from all walks of life to inhabit the special and personal spaces that he constructs and to communally engage in shared rituals and actions.
He has had exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum of New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirschhorn Smithsonian, Glenstone Museum, Luma Foundation in Arles and at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam that then was presented in Paris and London. Tiravanija is on the faculty of the School of the Arts at Columbia University and is a founding member and curator of Utopia Station, a collective project of artists, art historians, and curators. Tiravanija is also President of an educational-ecological project known as The Land Foundation, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he maintains his primary residence and studio.