Elaine Tin Nyo

art archives

The Fourth Leg: a lesson in pig butchery October 30, 3-7 PM

The Fourth Leg

a lesson in pig butchery on October 30, 2011, 3–7 pm.

Join Elaine Tin Nyo for an afternoon with butcher, Gaetano Arnone. During the course of the performance, artist and butcher will discuss our complex relationship to pigs and pork while he teaches you how to breakdown half a pig.

Utilizing the entire animal is just one way we show respect for the life of the animal. Since before the use of fire, butchers and cooks have been allies in this endeavor to feed ourselves mindfully. The performance coincides with the exhibition of The Three Legged Pig,* an art project (a four-channel video installation and artist’s book) that follows the artisanal slaughtering, butchery and charcuterie practices on family farms in Gascony.

Participants will leave with an understanding of pig anatomy as it relates to pork cookery and several traditional and not-so-traditional recipes.

For more information or to enroll, contact Elaine.
Participation and Materials: $135
Class is Limited to 10
Location: Downtown Manhattan

Purchase tickets through Paypal


Gaetano Arnone discovered butchery as a way to save money after his father took ill and he found himself running his family’s restaurant in Orange, California.   After studying under the guidance of Master Butcher Dario Cecchini in Tuscany, Gaetano returned to the states and is now the butcher at Dickson Farmstand in New York City, where he continues his goal of communicating to butchers and carnivores the traditions and craft that he has come to respect and love.


Elaine Tin Nyo is a conceptual artist and omnivore. Ms. Tin Nyo translates the tradition of genre painting into new media. Using performance, video, photography, cooking and writing, she reframes the everyday rituals of food and its preparation so we may reflect on the inherent beauty and value of the seemingly unimportant moments of our lives. In addition to her visual arts background, she has learned at the side of home cooks and restaurant chefs on three continents. Her art projects have been presented globally.

*The Three Legged Pig is on view as part of the exhibition, With Food In Mind at Center for Book Arts 28 W 26th Street 3rd Floor through June 25, 2011









Pea and Pig’s Ear Soup
serves 4

1.5 litres ham stock (preferably the water you boiled a ham in) or a ham bone plus a head of garlic
500g green dried split peas, soaked in water overnight and drained
2 pig’s ears (ask your butcher, these should not be hard to obtain; singe off as much hair as you can)
2 whole white onions, peeled
sea salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying

If you’re using stock, bring it to the boil in a pan with the split peas, ears and onions, and then simmer until the peas are soft and cooked to a thick soupy consistency (approximately 3 hours). If it starts to get too thick add more stock or water. If you have a ham bone, just cover this with water, add your garlic, split peas, ears, and onion, and cook the same way as with stock, though it will probably need some skimming. Add more water if it is getting too thick. Season to taste. Remove the onions, and if you have taken that route the head of garlic and the ham bone.

Extract the ears from the soup, rinse them and dry them carefully. Allow them to cool and firm up, then slice very thinly. Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan (or deep fryer) and drop the ears in. Be careful, as they are likely to spit. When crispy remove from oil and lay on kitchen paper to drain off excess fat. Serve the soup hot. On top of each bowl place a cluster of crispy ear. If you have any boiled ham left you could incorporate small chunks.

Recipe from The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson


Sour Cherry Pie

Sour Cherry Pie (New York, NY)

Homemade sour cherry pies, invitations, emails, three weeks, annual performance

Every July for the past seven years I have made one sour cherry pie a day and shared them with my friends and acquaintances. I send an email report to the pie list each time a pie is consumed. The performance lasts as long as the cherry season, about three weeks.

You can read the emails on my blog Nothing Happened Today.

The first in a series of electronic artist books, Sour Cherries 2012 is now available. Buy it on the iBookstore.


The Black Bania

The Black Bania (Medicine Lake), 2010

Art Shanty Projects, Plymouth, Minnesota
18foot dia. tipi, cedar sauna room, wood stove, one cord of wood, and four weeks on a frozen lake.

For five weeks, this clear tarp tipi that housed a public sauna on a frozen lake. The project was visited by about 1000 people each day during four weekends. During this time the Black Bania provided the opportunity to consider public bath culture with poetry readings, a library, and customized towels. www.blackbania.com

Black Bania was a smoking hot room on a frozen lake. A tipi housed a sauna room available for use by the public on a bring-your own-towel basis and provided additional space for restorative sauna related activity. During its run we explored the rich culture of communal sweat bathing referencing Finnish saunas, Russian banias, Roman baths and Turkish hammams, Korean zzimzilbangs, and Native American sweat lodges by providing a space for a series of intimate performances, intellectual exchange, and wholesome physical cleansing.

The Black Bania was part of the Art Shanty Projects, located on Medicine Lake, just west of Minneapolis, MN. Black Bania opened to the public on Jan 16 with our first in a series of Riot Act Readings.

This project was funded in part by the Franklin Furnace Fund.

I Want To Make Some Tamales

I Want To Make Some Tamales, 2008.

Over The Opening, Brooklyn, NY.

Hands-on cooking class, 300 tamales (pork tamales, and pineapple-chocolate tamales), 25 people , 2h

A complete hands-on tamale cooking class at OTO. Students were provided recipes. I demonstrated the finer points of the tamale making process. Then the students stuffed and steamed over 300 tamales. The resulting tamales were eaten by the students and the audience.

Tamales are traditionally served during the Christmas holiday because they evoke the swaddled Baby Jesus. Performed in January, 2008, the lesson was a celebration of collective effort and renewal.

Heart’s Content

Heart’s Content, 2007

Art In General, New York, NY

emailed restaurant reviews, take out or delivered food, blog, 5 weeks and one afternoon

Heart’s Content: The Emails, October 2007

“Dimsum,” I am told, means something like “eat to your heart?s content.” Based on an über dimsum meal, this performance consisted of a series of subscription-only emails through which the audience witnessed my performance: gathering, eating and reviewing the food that could be ordered in an eight-block radius of Art in General, NYC. The emails also posted to a blog: www.the-eat-in.blogspot.com

Heart’s Content: The Eat In, November 2007

The project culminated in The Eat In. Art in General was converted into a dimsum house, except that the guests had to either order for delivery or pick up their own take-out from the menus I had gathered during the previous weeks. Delight and mayhem ensued as confused delivery people showed up bearing bags and bags of food. Everyone ate to their heart’s content.

Three Minutes of Intimacy (Carson City)

Three Minutes of Intimacy (Carson City), 2006

Commissioned by CCAI, Carson City, NV

Interactive performance, Video

I sent an open invitation to the inhabitants of Carson City to dance with me. They could choose the song and how we danced; then I would lead a video taped conversation for three minutes. We went to where the men were: the Harley-Davidson Dealership and the Greenhouse Garden Center. Three Minutes has also been performed and video taped in Ostersund, Sweden in 2008 at the New World Bank Conference, and New York in 2009 at the Swiss Institute during a Swiss Embassy reception

“Dancing is an amazing activity. You can go up to a gorgeous woman you have never met before, spend three minutes touching her virtually anywhere on her body, and she thanks you for it afterward!”

–Mario Robau, Jr., dance instructor

Three Minutes of Intimacy is a challenge to anyone to commit public intimacy with me. I will find a public place. I will wear my best dress. I will dance with you if you agree to answer my questions.

The title of the piece refers to Craig Marcott’s self-help book, Three Minutes of Intimacy: Dance Your Way to a Sensational Social Life (Sundance Publishing, 2000) in which he outlines step-by-step how partner dancing can make you more socially attractive person.

Three Minutes of Intimacy is about the pleasures of trusting others. See my blog for more on this.

Three Minutes of Intimacy references the durational pieces of Burden and Abramovic. They mortify their flesh with broken glass or chunks of ice; I mortify my flesh with the flesh of strangers. My personal challenge is to accept mortification gracefully. I challenge anyone to commit public intimacy with me. I commit a public act of trust. I give up control for three minutes: you choose the song, the dance steps, how closely we dance. You lead; I follow. After three minutes the tables turn: I ask questions for three minutes. The intimacy of the questions will be determined partly by the intimacy of the dance. The interviews will take place in a manner in which the others will be able to watch but not hear the interaction. The interviews however will be videotaped. These recordings will be distilled into a two-channel video.

This work premiered on Saturday May 5, 2007 at Carson City Harley-Davidson and Sunday May 6, 2007 at The Greenhouse Garden Center, both in Carson City, NV.

The Bake Sale

The Bake Sale, 1997

Deitch Projects, New York, NY

Artist-made baked goods, 1 museum curator, 1 art critic, 1 art historian, passersby, money

The Bake Sale was a model of the Soho gallery community in which art was replaced with baked goods. In September 1997, the sidewalk of Deitch Projects hosted a Bake Sale of “goodies” made by artists with Soho Galleries. A critic (Bill Arning), art historian (Kirby Gookin), and museum curator (Dan Cameron) sold the baked goods to the greedy public. Hundreds of receipts were tallied and profits were returned to the galleries to split with the artists.

Photos and recipes of goodies were archived. Designed staff uniforms, invitations and promotional materials. Wrote checks totaling over $600.