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Daniel Spoerri during the performance known as The Last Supper of Nouveau Réalisme. Photo di Enrico Cattaneo

In 1970 the last three days of November, the city of  Milan became the scene of the celebration for the 10th anniversary from the foundation of Nouveau Réalisme art movement and for its  upcoming dissolution. The celebrations involved several performances enacted by the different members of the artistic group, amongst which the famous packing of the monument to Leonardo in Piazza della Scala, realized by Christo.

The final happening was the supper organized by Daniel Spoerri and Guido Le Noci, Milanese art dealer of the Nouveaux Réalistes, at Biffi restaurant in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Spoerri asked to his artists collegues to translate their own art in dishes. Arman presented accumulations of eels, of fishes and of jellied frog legs; César compressions of bonbon in liqueur and pudding; Christo fish “packed” en papillote; Niki de Saint Phalle drew a “Nana” made of ice cream and a liquid clock; Raysse designed a gingerbread nécessaire for make up; Rotella the maquette of a Shell oil keg. Raymond Hains created a giant walnut cake decorated with pink icing and a thousand candles which the tablemates had to light; the walnuts were an homage to the art dealer Le Noci (his surname means walnuts in Italian), the candles were a thousand as a play on words with Milan and mille (a thousand in Italian), while the topping was an homage to the master, passed away just two years before, Marcel Duchamp, and his alter ego Rrose Sélavy. 

The dishes came out from the kitchen of Biffi according to the artists' instructions and following the project-drawings put together by Spoerri on the manifesto titled “The Last Supper, funeral banquet of the Nouveau Réalisme”, signed by the group members. Spoerri handed to the pastry chef Villa, who made also art studies, the task of preparing a cake shaped like a pontifical tiara dedicated to the art critic,  inspiring figure of the movement, Pierre Restany. Spoerri planned to destroy the cake «in order to prove to Restany that he wasn't a Pope», but during the decisive moment of cutting the cake the attempt at revenge failed. «I didn't know back then», Spoerri would later admit, «that in cakes so big pastry chefs placed supports, so the knife stopped at the first wooden layer that I encountered». 

Daniel Spoerri  
The Last Supper of Nouveau Réalisme
28 November 1970
Biffi Restaurant,
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
20121, Milan
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