At 5 p.m. on April 10, 2020, Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Senior Coordinator at The Freek group, appeared at home on the museum’s YouTube channel, wearing a striped robe and drinking in hand. The Frick, like many establishments that spring, abruptly closed the gilded doors of his mansion at East 70th Street, shutting down his famous collection of Old Master art.
“Every Friday evening, for the next few weeks, I decided to speak from my private apartment in New York about some of the wonderful antiques in the Frick Collection,” Salomon said, “I think about some of the issues we think about these days—issues of life, love, travel, research. For the meaning of life, and ultimately death.”
“Every Friday, this will be accompanied by a cocktail,” he added. First pairing: Giovanni Bellini‘s Saint Francis in the desert (circa 1476-1778) – not with Bellini, with which Salomon would later pair up TitianCalifornia – 1537 Petro Arretino; Titian was a pupil of Bellini, who often used a similar pink to the 1930s cocktail, hence his name—but with Manhattan, in honor of the museum’s home in New York City.
Little did Salomon know that he would go on to host this impromptu happy hour for over a year – along with Frick Curator Amy Ng and Assistant Curator of Sculpture at the Museum Giulio Dalvet, logged in from Milan – broadcasting 65 episodes of Cocktails with AminWhich has garnered more than 1.8 million views from all over the world.
Now, in collaboration with Rizzoli, each episode of the Webby honoree series (in reference to the awards known as the “Oscars” of the Internet) has been copied, edited, and combined into a book of the same name, with black-and-white illustrations commissioned by the artist. Luis Serranobased on the masterpieces.
As the world stopped, “The three curators made us pack our fairy bags and head for it RembrandtAmsterdam (vodka bison-Polish herb); VermeerDelft (Jennifer, but then lived in a bar); Deep, where Turner It is a sketch (The Widow’s Kiss Cocktail), English art historian and documentarian Simon Schama wrote in the preface to the book.
He continued that the series “repositioned the space-time continuum, curved by demonic contagion.” Along the way, Salomon’s gowns gave way to outfits more exotic than his previous excursions (think kimonos from Japan and Turkish ikat coats), not to mention a replica of Gustav KlimtBlue robe.
While the book maintains the series’ unassuming appearance, it delves more into the backstory of each action in the series, from the environment in which it was created to its journey into the hands of industrialist and collector Henry Clay Frick. There is, as Sama writes, “on nearly every page, a hardened and excellent art history”—with identical cocktail and mocktail recipes.
Recipes are classic, sometimes with an artistic and historical twist: Ng created “Asparagus Fizz” to accompany Joshua Reynoldspicture of 1787 Selena, Mrs. SkipwithAnd the It was inspired by an entry in the magazine where the subject first documented tasting asparagus.
Next month, the bar at McNally Jackson’s South Street Seaport in New York will serve drinks from Cocktails with Amin That precedes a recent event and book signing with the curators.
While Frick Mansion remains closed for renovations, his collection is accessible again in Frick Madison, having resided in the former home designed by Marcel Breuer for the Whitney Museum of American Art. As Sama said, “Great art delivers the insurmountable stroke of drunkenness.”
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