> www.eating.usdavis.edu

Eating Disorders in a Disordered Culture is the first visual arts project of its kind exploring the personal, cultural and historical dimensions of eating disorders. This multi-faceted project is designed for three venues: exhibitions in galleries and museums; public art, such as billboards and bus shelters; and the Web.

Eating Disorders in a Disordered Culture provides a visual expression of the experience of eating disorders by combining textual narratives with powerful visual imagery in order to convey both the personal experience and the cultural pervasiveness of eating disorders. The narratives and images are utilized in posters, prints and sculptural pieces. The gallery exhibitions also include a Secret Appetites dining installation. At the table, visitors can listen to an audio-CD recording of women, men, friends and family describing their experiences with eating disorders.

Designed to be interactive, Eating Disorders in a Disordered Culture includes a Web site <www.eating.ucdavis.edu>, which displays the imagery from the project. It also contains a resource guide and provides a place for people to contribute their own stories about their experiences with eating disorders. Of the 350 plus stories currently on the Web site, 300 have been contributed by visitors to the site. These personal narratives have been sent from as far away as Sweden and Australia and from across the United States.

Although the subject of eating disorders goes in and out of fashion as a topic of media and scientific research attention, the reality is that an estimated 5 million to 8 million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and compulsive eating. As many as 25% of all college-age women in the United States are estimated to experience eating disorders. Complications from anorexia and bulimia can lead to death.

In the United States, Eating Disorders in a Disordered Culture, has helped raise awareness and create a sense of empathy for those who suffer from eating disorders. Argentina will be the first country to host the exhibition outside of the United States. The project will be included in an exhibition on food and art "Al Plato! Muestra sobre Arte y Alimentacion", at the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aries. The hope is that the project will again generate an increased awareness of eating disorders and an increased sensitivity to those people experiencing them.

In Eating Disorders and Cultures in Transition the editors, Nasser, Katzman, and Gordon, state that "During the 1990's, there have been reports of what has been referred to as an 'epidemic' of eating disorders in Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires." Prior to 1990, eating disorders were most often reported in Europe, North America, Japan, or Chile. They contend that countries reporting eating disorders after 1990 include Hong Kong, Mainland China, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, Argentina, and India.

To explore the phenomena of this cultural "epidemic" a panel on eating disorders will be included as one of the many events surrounding the "Al Plato! Muestra sobre Arte y Alimentacion",exhibition at the Centro Cultural Recoleta . The panel will include physicians, clinicians, historians, and theorists from Argentina who will contextualize eating disorders within the Argentinean society. The intention is that the visual dialogue, which occurs in the art exhibition at the Centro Cultural Recoleta, and the issues raised during the panel will help shed light on eating disorders and on our sometimes problematic relationship with food. These cultural discussions also reinforce the understanding that art can be a powerful tool for social dialogue and transformation.

A short history of Eating Disorders in a Disordered Culture:
There have been over 14 gallery and museum exhibitions of Eating Disorders in a Disordered Culture in the United States. Solo exhibitions include: the McMullen Museum on the Boston College campus, 2002; the Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside, 2001; Parsons School of Design in New York City, 2001; The Sesnon Gallery, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2000; Art Gallery at San Francisco State University in 2000. Group exhibitions include: LA County Museum of Art's "Made in California" from 2000-2001; Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, "Body Politic", 2002-2003; Euphrat Museum of Art, "To Your Health!" Cupertino, California; Soho Photography Gallery, "Not for Profit", New York, NY, 1999.

Public art projects have been displayed in twelve communities throughout the United States, including: 14'x48' billboard on display along Interstate 80 northeast of San Francisco in 1998; a major public art campaign in Toledo, Ohio with six billboards and twenty-nine exterior bus posters in 2000; twenty subway station posters in New York City in 2001; ten metro station posters in Washington, D.C., 2002, ten bus shelter posters in Los Angeles, California in 2002 ; Fifteen mural size banners in Eureka, Arcata, and Humboldt State University, 2003.

The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts has supported the project with a $25,000 grant to produce a full-color catalog of the project that will be available in the summer of 2003. Advertising companies have donated over $140,000 worth of space throughout the U.S.

The work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers throughout the U.S. including: Time Out New York, Sculpture Magazine, Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual 2001, exposure, ArtPapers, Artweek, CameraArts, New York Post, LA (Los Angeles) Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The work has been published in several books including: Women Artists of the American West edited by Susan Ressler, Eating Disorders from the series Diseases and People, by Kathryn Gay, Made in California; Art Imagery and Identity, 1900-2000, catalogue for LA County Museum Exhibition, University of California Press, Fasting Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Beyond Boundaries: Contemporary Photography in California published by The Friends of Photography.