Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
For 20 years, the Estorick Collection in London has done a sterling job of exhibiting the best of Italian modern art, with shows on everything from Futurism to Modigliani to Arte Povera. It seems only natural, then, that the institution is about to dedicate a display to another icon of 20th-century Italy: Campari.
Opening in July, ‘The Art of Campari’ will explore how the makers of the refreshingly bitter beverage commissioned some of the most innovative works of graphic design to have been produced in modern Italy – including posters by Fortunato Depero, Bruno Munari and others. Throughout the 20th century, the brand embraced avant-garde styles in its ad material, arguably doing as much to advance the cause of Italian modern art to a large audience as any museum retrospective.
We needn’t guess what the Estorick’s patrons will be quaffing at the private view. But if the museum needs ideas for nibbles, Rakewell suggests they turn to the pages of Filippo Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook, in which the artist eagerly took up Campari as a ingredient. One recipe in which it appears requires using the ruby-red liqueur to dye two ‘breasts’ formed of mounds of ricotta topped with strawberry ‘nipples’. ‘More fresh strawberries under the covering of ricotta make it possible to bite into an ideal multiplication of imaginary breasts’, he noted as a serving suggestion. Erm, salute!