Thursday, May 24, 2007

Chocolate Art

My reasons for missing Sid Chidiac's opening last weekend were not good. Local chocolate wonk Clay Gordon alerted to me the Australian-Lebanese artist's edible chocolate portraits during a Meetup event that Gordon coordinated at Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven (extensively chronicled by Jessica of Su Good Eats). If I had gone to the show, I could have met the artist. We could have talked about chocolate in Australia. We could have talked about exquisite food and outrageous art. But I didn't go because it was raining and I had left my umbrella at Pierre Marcolini a few days earlier.

Luckily, this is New York, where Torres and Marcolini coexist, and chocolate events happen every day of the week while wonks and bloggers knowingly look on. Tonight, I get a another shot at an art opening--The Divine Geometry of Chocolate, by Mariangeles Soto-Diaz. As opposed to Chidiac who uses chocolate as his medium, Soto-Diaz evokes the meaning of chocolate in more abstract form, outlining what she describes as "the parallels between the sensual materiality of chocolate and that of oil paint."

These two shows follow on the heels of April Banks's Free Chocolate exhibit in San Francisco (which caused both a culinary and a political stir), though the field of chocolate art dates back to at least 1971 when Dieter Roth unveiled his "Chocolate Lion." And countless contemporary chocolatiers (ranging from John Down and Monica Passin in New York to Jeff Shepherd in Oregon) layer their skills in the fine arts onto their confections.


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