A to Z Breeding Unit: For Averaging Eight Breeds
Andrea Zittel’s A to Z Breeding Unit: For Averaging Eight Breeds uses animal breeding as a way to explore issues related to power, social structures, and aesthetics. Whereas breeding is often employed for commercial purposes, either to enhance appearance or to ensure quality in terms of food or labor, Zittel’s work proposes the use of breeding techniques to create a completely “average” chicken. The work comprises chicken coops stacked to resemble an upside-down pyramid, with eight cages at the top, each containing a different, highly specialized “fancy” breed. Each successive level contains half the number of cages, which house the offspring of the chickens above. At the bottom, the resulting average chicken, stripped of its carefully cultivated recessive genes, is caged.
Andrea Zittel (b. 1965, Escondido, California; lives and works in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California)
A to Z Breeding Unit: For Averaging Eight Breeds, 1993
Steel, wool, glass, and electronics
72 x 171 x 18 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Donatella and Jay Chiat