Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of attending a Gallery Talk and Tour at the DIA as a guest of my good friend Roz Sell. (Thanks to her my art “learning curve” has been on the up rise.) The topic was Bitter/Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate, the first exhibit ever to engage all the 5 senses. Led by Yao-Fen You, Associate Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, it is history of these beverages. Each of the 3 was first available as medications from apothecaries then exported, from their individual homelands, as extremely profitable crops. Coffee, known for it’s jolt and actually a fruit, originated from Ethiopia and was banned by Frederick the Great because of it’s high cost and the Catholic Church as it was considered a sinful stimulant. Chocolate, from the cacao bean, was a product of the Americas and is allied with love and its sweetness. Think Valentine’s Day… Tea, from Asia, is associated with hospitality. Embraced by the English who started the tradition of High Tea, the original Happy Hour sans the Happy, only polite conversation centered on philosophy and literature was allowed. No gossip please! Elaborate tea, coffee and hot coco sets were the bulk of the displays. The porcelain industry grew in leaps and bounds as ceramic kept them hot for a longer period of time. My favorite is the set below from the French company Sevres.
WE WISH YOU MANY MILLION DOLLAR DAYS!!
Mary, Niki, Pico, Z and Picasso