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Detroit art exhibit explores influence of caffeinated drinks

Associated Press Associated Press 18/11/2016

DETROIT — A new museum exhibit in Detroit will tell the story of how hot coffee, tea and chocolate beverages became popular in the 200 years or so following their introduction as commercial products in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The exhibit, "Bitter/Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate," opens Sunday at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/2f8lerf ) reported. Yao-Fen You, associate curator of European sculpture and decorative arts, curated the exhibit.

The exhibit uses about 70 works of ceramics, prints, paintings, silver and more to show how caffeinated drinks influenced society and art as they changed from exotic luxury goods to markers of a rising middle class.

In addition to the artworks "Bitter/Sweet" will feature videos about the preparation of coffee, tea and chocolate. The exhibit will also have opportunities for visitors to touch, hear, smell and taste.

"The exhibition is a very exciting venture for the DIA, with regards to the rich, complex story we're telling, and the innovative visitor-centered ways in which we are presenting it," said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director.

"Bitter/Sweet" along with appealing to the senses, touches on the human cost of procuring the raw materials to produce coffee, tea, chocolate and the sugar used to alter the beverages' bitter taste.

The coffee, tea and chocolate trend influenced drinking habits and social interaction, as well as prompted an explosion in the manufacture of products such as coffee cups, teapots and sugar bowls.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

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