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HAPPENINGText: Jonathan Velardi

Art x Food: The Monkey Town Pop-Up Experience Hits Los Angeles

Think underground supper club meets Pipilotti Rist and you’re close to describing a night at Monkey Town. Founded by Montgomery Knott in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2003, the pop-up restaurant has since made appearances in Denver, Austin, and has even crossed the Atlantic to Barcelona, Spain.


The Los Angeles iteration marks Monkey Town’s grand finale in a city au fait with experimental dining; a popular playground for chefs and visionaries exploring the culinary blend between taste and spectacle. Here, the following standard characteristics may apply: the remote address of an inconspicuous building in industrial-strewn Downtown L.A. and a welcome aperitivo served in an underwhelming wood-panelled reception lobby for the purpose of suspense. However, on entering the dimly lit space of this former fabric warehouse, there’s nothing that prepares diners for the impact of an illuminated 27-square-foot cube suspended from the rafters.

‘Inverso Mundus’, 2015 by AES+F – Video still: AES+F

The cube emits video art by fourteen various artists hailing from America, Canada, Russia and Europe over the two-hour long serving. Projected seamlessly across the 4-screen installation, the works of art range from one-minute animated landscapes by L.A.-based artist Adam Ferris to a course-long CGI thriller by Takeshi Murata from upstate New York.

‘The Internet is Porn’, 2011 by Agnes Bolt – Video still: Agnes Bolt

The evening is intimate with only 40 diners, 10 along each inner side of the cube, granting uninterrupted views of the multi-channel installation from within. Highlights from the visuals include Theo Angell’s ‘Central Park Quilts’ – a collage through the seasons of Central Park shot over 2 years; a titillating journey of society’s love affair with electronic devices by Agnes Bolt; and a rare opportunity to view the profound talent of Russian collective AES+F on American soil with an excerpt of their melodramatic tableau vivant ‘Inverso Mundus’, which premiered at the 56th Venice Biennale.

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