I am a collector of both art and experiences, I often say that I travel for two reasons, art and food. As I am writing this introduction from Venice, waiting to go stuffing myself with Venetian delicacies before an art overdose that will be brought to me by the Venice Biennale, this book couldn’t feel timelier. Reading it inspired me and invited me to plan more experiences for my soul, my eye, and all my senses.  

The book resumé reads as

Aesthetic Dining: The Art Restaurant Around the World is the first book ever that identifies and describes a tradition of museum-quality art collections in restaurants starting from the early 20th Century in Zurich’s Kronenhalle. The book features 24 portraits of restaurants with art collections around the world, from Provence to Cairo to Hong Kong to Sydney, LA to New Orleans to Modena to New York.  

The book features new interviews with contemporary artists (Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, David Shrigley, Julian Schnabel, Peter Blake, Ai Weiwei, David Hockney, Magi Hambling, among others) who talk about where they like to eat, why they make work for restaurants, what it’s like to eat under their artworks. The book also includes interviews with some of the most well-known contemporary chefs: Massimo Bottura, Daniel Boulud, Mark Hix, etc. who collect art and are inspired by art in their cuisine.) 

No matter if you have read the book or not, we invite you to reflect on these questions: 

  • How does the setting of seeing an artwork in an unconventional space like a restaurant changes your perception of it? 
  • How do we experience art with many senses and how this is heightened when you experience it with food or even with other people?  

As usual, it is our pleasure to give away 5 copies of Aesthetic Dining – The Art Restaurant Around the World will be given! Please comment on our giveaway post on Instagram to enter it! You will get additional chances to win your copy by leaving comments, discussing the subject of this book, the power of art and tagging other people. Follow @christinavmakris and @cultureshockit for more chances to win. Also, it is your opportunity to get your question ready for our Instagram Live with the author happening on May 31st at 5 BST | Noon EST. Don’t miss it! 

And if you have a suggestion for us regarding the book club or even a book to suggest – email el@nic.art 

Book Review by evlyne Laurin
You already know that I must have enjoyed this book, it isn’t hard to see how it seems almost written with someone just like me in mind. Past the first impression about how much I would enjoy reading about art and food, about how they can be entangled, the best surprise was actually the physical object. This book is a work of art in itself; a texture orange cover, embossed with gold foil. Inside, mood-setting images, the tonality, the shadows and highlights. all printed on matte paper. The object itself already had captured my attention before reading even one word.  

Then, the words pulled me more in and made me crave travel and experiences, passionate conversations about things I love! It was also the occasion to learn more about the art I had seen in the restaurant and enjoyed very much – just like the art of Chant Avedissian that I had admired at Abou el Sid in Cairo while devouring walnut chicken and some tasty Mulukhiyah. This book will make you crave everything from food, to art, to experience and much more. It will bring you in. I particularly appreciate the recap of art and artists in the collection of each restaurant. Not two stories are the same, and you will learn tons, about people, collectors, artists and art. This book can be read “one restaurant” at a time or devoured with appetite and voracity. It can be shared and discussed especially with friends, around a good meal! Enjoy it with all your senses.

More about the author Christina Makris

In pursuit of visual taste and aesthetic dining, Christina Makris has travelled to six continents, visited more than 100 cities and sat at countless tables. She began her career in academia, and earned a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Sussex, where she lectured and researched in phenomenology and aesthetics. Christina has been involved in the arts as a collector, a philanthropist, and patron, and involved with restaurants as an investor, consultant and sybarite. She is a Trustee of Site Gallery in the UK and she writes and lectures on art and food. And because she believes you can never be overeducated or underdressed, she has also recently completed her WESET Level 2 and Level 3 in wine education and is currently researching and writing a project on art and wine. 
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