As food becomes increasingly valuable cultural currency, American museums are using cooking to help visitors better connect to the art on the walls.
When the Metropolitan Museum of Art was casting around last year for new ways to showcase its exhibition “Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven,” it paired the Israeli chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi with the authors of “The Gaza Kitchen” for a 13-course medieval feast that took six months to plan.
Laura McDermit, the manager of social experiences at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, took a similar approach with a program called Feast, which the museum began last year.
A dinner prepared by Michael Gulotta, a New Orleans chef who draws from the cooking traditions of both Southeast Asia and Southeast Louisiana, was the debut event. The food underscored themes in “The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music,” the Propeller Group’s visual and musical exploration of South Vietnam’s funerary tradition, which echo rituals in New Orleans.
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In November, Ms. McDermit recruited the Brazilian chef Ana Luiza Trajano to cook eight courses inspired by the work of the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica, whose first comprehensive retrospective in the United States hung at the museum from October through Jan. 2.