There was so much to love about my recent visit to the MFA in St. Petersburg, Florida: nearly 5000 years of art including Monet, O’Keeffe, Morisot, Corot, Inness, de Kooning; exhibits that give voice to the voiceless; an art BOOK CLUB (which you know I love)…
But my favorite part was learning about the MFA’s annual Beer Project. Every year, the museum asks brewers to create beer inspired by the museum’s art, and this year, the brewers were asked to create a beer based on the museum’s mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch.
This girl who grew up on a lake in Arkansas
couldn’t ask for anything better than ART-inspired BEER.
First, I’m a history nerd so I love the history of these mosaics: created during the ancient Roman Empire, excavated in the 1930s, acquired by the MFA in the 1960s, and just now being restored to their former glory.
This conservation is not only bringing a piece of history back to life, but the process itself is art, too: craftsmen making daily decisions about what will best serve the overall piece.
These days, I’m also obsessed with the connection between art and food/drink. While on the road with my novel, I met historical novelist Crystal King who writes about the art of making food (her first book is set during Ancient Rome; her upcoming, during the Renaissance). Our conversations have gotten me thinking about how…
Food is ART, isn’t it?
The way it sits on our plate, the way it appeals not only to our stomach but our eyes.
And how art is FOOD — for our minds, our hearts, our souls, our relationships.
I’ve also noticed this connection at book clubs. I can’t count the number of book clubs I’ve attended where the wine is flowing alongside photos of the David.
The recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain also sparked this conversation in my head — he made food into art, didn’t he? The love of it, the connection over it, the way food spoke to all of us through him.
The St. Pete’s Beer Project adds to this conversation. Food and art are certainly connected, but why? Is it because they’re both fuel for conversation? Is it because both appeal to the senses? Because there’s some sense of humanity about both? One thought about beer in particular: while art is the expression of humanity, beer lubricates those expressions…
I’d like to see what inspires these brewers: the ancient Roman beer-making processes, the colors of the mosaics, the details, the grain, the conservation process…
And I’d very much like to participate in more projects and events that…
highlight the connection between food and art.
I feel that there’s something profoundly human about the experience of both, and during a time when we could all use a little more empathy and connection, it seems an important juncture to explore.
If you’re in St. Petersburg (or within a drive) please attend the Beer Project for me and let me know what you find out! I’ll spend those two days — in honor of this event — sipping some craft beer, looking at art, and pondering the connection.