Cooking Art History: Chocolate, The Food of the Gods

theobroma

Cooking Art History: Chocolate, The Food of the Gods

theobroma

This blog was featured in The Getty Iris on February 12, 2015.

The association between chocolate and love stretches back centuries. This Valentine’s Day, indulge in a decadent aphrodisiac recipe you can make at home

Chocolate. The ultimate aphrodisiac. Once available only to priests and kings, today chocolate is  prized around the world for its delicious taste and its seductive effects—effects that have been appreciated for centuries.

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A video of last summer’s Graff-EAT-i class!

A video of last summer’s Graff-EAT-i class!

I had to share this video from last summer’s Graff-EAT-i class at ESMoA, one of my favorite classes to date…

The blog originally appeared on August 13, 2014 in The Huffington Post. If you’re interested in reading it again, here it is with a different recipe…

It is rare that I get to develop a class around contemporary art and the opportunity to teach from ESMoA’s latest Experience, SCRATCH, is quite a treat. The show combines 16th through 18th century manuscripts from the Getty Research Institute’s (GRI) collection of rare books with art from some of LA’s finest graffiti and tattoo artists. Yes, street art on museum walls is as cool as it sounds, but combining it with Renaissance manuscripts is groundbreaking.

Serving as inspiration for the show is a Liber Amicorum or “Book of Friends”. Comparable to a high school yearbook or the posts on someone’s Facebook wall, the book is one of a series of popular books originally bound with blank leaves and filled with drawings and watercolors by friends. The Liber Amicorum in SCRATCH was owned by Nuremberg merchant Johann Heinrich Gruber, was compiled between 1602 and 1612 and is filled with illustrations by his highfalutin friends. To art collector Ed Sweeney and GRI rare books curator David Brafman, the book resembled the sketchbooks graffiti artists have their friends tag — black books with blank pages that serve as an exchange of memories and ideas.

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Cooking Art History: Day of the Dead

xipe totec

Cooking Art History: Day of the Dead

xipe totec

This blog was featured in The Huffington Post on October 20, 2014.

I’m a wimp when it comes to horror, yet I’ve always been drawn to images of Xipe Totec, a pre-Columbian figure portrayed wearing the flayed skin of a sacrificial victim – a poor victim who, as if having his skin flayed wasn’t enough, also had his heart cut out – evidenced by a stitched-up wound in the chest. (He was given plenty of pulque, a type of undistilled tequila, before getting started.)

The flayed skin still has the victim’s hands and sometimes his feet dangling loosely from it. As macabre as this sounds, warfare was conceptually linked to agricultural fertility and Xipe Totec was the god of renewal and new vegetation. He was associated with the Aztec goddess of maize, Chicomecoatl, and was widely worshipped in central Mexico at the time of the Conquest, but was known throughout most of Mesoamerica. Representations of him have been found all to way to the Yucatan Peninsula and along the Gulf Coast. (FYI – though human sacrifice was very real before the Conquest, the scale of them is disputed since both Spaniard and Native sources alike were prone to exaggeration.)

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