Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Buenos Aires in 1961 and was raised in Thailand, Ethiopia, and Canada. He studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1980–84), Banff Center School of Fine Arts (1984), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1984–86), and Whitney Independent Studies Program in New York (1985–86). Since the 1990s, Tiravanija has aligned his artistic production with an ethic of social engagement, often inviting viewers to inhabit and activate his work. In one of his best-known series, begun with pad thai (1990) at the Paula Allen Gallery in New York, Tiravanija rejected traditional art objects altogether and instead cooked and served food for exhibition visitors. Over the following years, the artist ignored the prescribed division between art and life, constructing communal environments that offer a playful alternative venue for quotidian activities. Tiravanija's work has been recognized with numerous awards and grants including a Gordon Matta Clark Foundation Award, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Competition Award (1993), National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship (1994), the Lucelia Artist Award from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2003), and the Hugo Boss Prize from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2004). He lives and works in New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai.