Food Material
Julio César Morales in conversation with Rita Gonzalez and Joseph Mosconi
October 16, 2020

In our series Food Material, artists and food practitioners share ingredients and material on their minds and in their lives, diving deep into their histories and meaning today. These conversations in the kitchen (and sometimes studio) often include friends and special guests, addressing how ingredients can take us from cooking-in-quarantine to questions of scarcity or accessibility, as well as the confluence of cooking and art-making.

In October, for the third installment of this series, artist and curator Julio César Morales connected with curator Rita Gonzalez and writer Joseph Mosconi to discuss Julio's artistic practice and current projects. Julio often considers food as both material and inspiration in his work and has collaborated with both Rita and Joseph on past projects. Through his food-based public performances and by what he calls "eating history," Julio offers meals as inquiries into the complicated histories of land, politics, and culture. Julio, Rita, and Joseph are longtime friends and colleagues, and this conversation brings them together in the midst of Covid and a changing landscape for artistic production to talk about what inspires Julio's projects, eating as practice, and how sound and poetry shape a meal.

Food Material is an ongoing series organized by Active Cultures curator Bianca Morán that explores how foodways provide a window into our most fundamental beliefs about cultural expression, equity, environmental sustainability, and ourselves. As with many of Active Cultures' current programs, Food Material exists online until we can gather in person again.

Food Material is made possible in part through the generous support of the Active Cultures Board of Directors; Founders Circle members Mehran and Laila Taslimi; and the Wilhelm Family Foundation.


Rita Gonzalez is the Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she has curated Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement; Asco: Elite of the Obscure; Lost Line: Contemporary Art from the Collection; Agnés Varda in Californialand, In Production: Art and the Studio System, Christian Marclay: Sound Stories, among other exhibitions and programs. Gonzalez curated L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists, an exhibition that featured sixty gifts and marked the culmination of LACMA's 50th anniversary year. From 1997-1999, she was the Lila Wallace Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. She was on the curatorial team for Prospect 3 New Orleans and part of the curatorial teams for the first Current L.A. Biennial in 2016 and the Gwangju Biennale in 2018. Gonzalez was one of the 2018 Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellows.

Julio César Morales is an artist, educator, and curator. Julio is currently a curator at ASU Art Museum. He was also recently awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. His artwork consistently explores issues of labor, memory, surveillance technologies, and identity strategies. Morales teaches and creates art in a variety of settings, from juvenile halls and probation offices to museums, art colleges, and alternative non-profit institutions. He also works in food-based performance and video projects that have taken shape as forms of inquiry to address alternative histories through culinary explorations. His work has been shown at SFMOMA (San Francisco); 2009 Lyon Biennale (Lyon, France); 2008 and 2004 San Juan Triennial (San Juan, Puerto Rico); 2007 Istanbul Biennale; Los Angeles County Art Museum (Los Angeles); 2006 Singapore Biennale; Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt, Germany); Swiss Cultural Center (Paris, France); The Rooseum Museum of Art (Malmo, Sweden); Peres Projects (Los Angeles); Fototeca de Havana (Cuba); Harris Lieberman Gallery (New York City); Museo Tamayo (Mexico City) and UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles).

Joseph Mosconi is a writer and taxonomist based in Los Angeles. He co-directs the Poetic Research Bureau and is the author of several books, including Ashenfolk (Make Now Books, 2019), Fright Catalog (Insert Blanc Press, 2013), Demon Miso/Fashion In Child (Make Now Books, 2014), Renaissance Realism (Gauss PDF, 2016), and, with Pauline Beaudemont, an artist book called This Arrogant Envelope (FCAC Geneva, 2017). With Rita Gonzalez he edited the art and poetry journal Area Sneaks. His poems have been selected for the BAX: Best American Experimental Writing anthology for the years 2014 and 2015. With Andrew Maxwell, he curated an exhibition, THIS KNOWN WORLD: Spontaneous Particulars of the Poetic Research Bureau at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2017.