Author(s): Karen Hansgen
“Schmatz (shmäts) 1: smacking one’s lips in anticipation of good food; 2: eating noisily; 3: big sloppy air kisses” An innovative art book that includes recipes, a cookbook that includes art, Schmatz! speaks to the creative practices of publishing and cookery as experienced at Steidlville. Renowned artists from around the world travel to little Göttingen, Germany to collaborate with celebrated publisher and printer, Gerhard Steidl, creating outstanding books of exceptional quality. Personally involved in every stage of their book’s creation, artists make the rounds from image processing, colour proofing, to design, paper choice, and finally to press. While there is a great amount of satisfaction in the process, it is rigorous and highly demanding. The one hour when guests are allowed to slow down is lunchtime at Steidl’s table, enjoying the simple yet spectacularly delicious, lovingly prepared and served meals by chef Rüdiger Schellong. The book is an introduction to the experience of Steidlville: artists’ reminiscences; snippets of mealtime conversations; menus and recipes that speak not only to the ingredients but also evoke a mood – cooking plans that guide the reader to becoming more intuitive, an “artist” in the kitchen. Images include art from books created at Steidl, photos of the guests and Rüdiger’s cuisine. Members of the Steidl-family who have contributed to this book include Bruce Davidson, Jim Dine, Mitch Epstein, Wendy Ewald, Paul Graham, Günter Grass, Marc Joseph, Mona Kuhn, Diana Michener, Robert Polidori, Paul Ruscha, Phil Trager, Fazal Sheikh, Dayanita Singh, Alec Soth, Joel Sternfeld and Massimo Vitali.