On St. Patrick’s Day in 1969, Les Levine opened New York’s first Irish-Jewish-Canadian Restaurant in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park. Levine’s Restaurant drew on the artist’s simultaneous interests in mediated environments—utilizing feedback mechanisms such as closed-circuit televisions—and social frameworks, such as those dictated by dining out. New York magazine would announce the opening in its weekly restaurant column: “Artist Les Levine has […] opened a restaurant. Well, not quite a restaurant, but an ‘autobiographical culinary environment.’ … The food, like Levine, is Irish-Jewish-Canadian; the menu includes Mama Levine’s Special Entrees and Her Son’s Favorites, all served with rye bread, salad and potato latkas [sic]. All this begins at lunch and continues to 3am and there is a special discount of 20% if you are a Levine namesake. Levine has provided the electrically inspired stroke of placing five television cameras and eight monitors right in the center of all the Irish green and Israeli pale blue of the décor. This ploy makes everyone aware of everyone else, which is why a lot of people go to restaurants in the first place.”
Join us tonight at 7:00 pm for a free guided tour of Les Levine: Transmedia at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square.
Images: Levine’s Restaurant, 1969. Collection of the Museum of Mott Art, Inc. © Les Levine