New Exhibits on Food, Detroit Night Photography to Open at the DIA


The Detroit Institute of Arts has announced its upcoming exhibit lineup that includes a closer look at food monuments at festivals in Europe that began in the Renaissance era; how coffee became a daily ritual; and a photography exhibit of Detroit at night.

Photographs of skylines, quiet streets, and bars and nightclubs will appear in the exhibit Detroit After Dark: Photographs from the DIA Collection, which opens Oct. 21.

“It’s something that came up because I saw a lot of people looking at night in the city and I got a beautiful gift of photographs from the photographer Russ Marshall, who’s particularly interested in shooting street scenes at night and shooting in some of our jazz clubs,” says Nancy Barr, curator of the exhibit and co-chief curator of the DIA.

Barr says the exhibit also includes a night vision series by Scott Hocking and a Detroit nocturne series by Dave Jordano.

“I started to see this phenomenon of night photography in Detroit,” Barr says. “I think some of it is because of digital work and digital cameras make it a lot easier to shoot at night.”

The exhibit, which will include about 75 photographs, will also include a music portion with photos of rock and roll clubs, jazz clubs, and portraits of hip hop artists by Jenny Risher. The exhibit runs through April 23.

Following the opening of Detroit After Dark is the exhibit Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea, & Chocolate, debuting Nov. 20.

The exhibit examines why coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were the fashionable beverages of 18th-century Europe, yet none of the plants required for their preparation were native to the continent.

“People didn’t always start the day drinking coffee,” says Yao-Fen You, associate curator of European art at the DIA and the curator of the exhibit. “(I also thought) about the present and how quotidian these kind of beverages are. We take them for granted. It’s interesting to think about the time within European history as to when they were a point of novelty.”

You says the exhibit will include about 60 objects from the DIA’s permanent collection, including hot beverages services, coffee pots, and paintings and sculptures related to the beverages’ consumption. The exhibit, which runs until March 5, will offer a multi-sensory approach, with touch and taste stations.

The final exhibit to open in 2016 comes from the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, called The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals.

“That was an exhibit that we really wanted to take on because it all dealt with these food festivals in Europe that began in the Renaissance era,” Barr says. “(It) has very old cookbooks and prints that show edible monuments. In Bologna, for example, they would have these huge food festivals in the 16th and 17th century and they would build monuments out of food.”

The exhibit, which opens Dec. 16 and runs through April 16, includes about 140 prints, rare books, and serving manuals. Barr says the highlight of the exhibit will be a sugar sculpture based on an 18th-century print that is set on an eight-foot table and features sugar paste sculpted into a classical temple with sugar statues and sugar-sand gardens.