Crocker Art Museum to Open Photosynthetic Restaurant for Plants

The Crocker Art Museum will open the world’s first photosynthetic restaurant this spring. Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has developed a gourmet cuisine for flora by filtering and mixing different wavelengths of sunlight. Keats’ installation will be on view in the floral plantings in front of the historic Crocker from April 16 through July 17, 2011.

An experimental philosopher, Keats has a long history of encompassing other species in his installations. He has choreographed a ballet for honeybees by selectively planting flowers around their hives. He has also produced travel documentaries for houseplants by projecting videos of foreign skies onto their foliage in a darkened theater.

“What motivates me is curiosity. In the case of my photosynthetic restaurant, I wondered what it’s like to be human and to do peculiarly human things like savoring a good meal,” Keats explains. “Adapting a common human activity to the plant kingdom—without anthropomorphizing the plants—is a way to explore an aspect of human behavior that we otherwise take for granted. ”

Keats’ efforts to share aspects of human culture with other species encourages us to scrutinize our own cultural values. He adds, “If this project succeeds, the plants at the Crocker will eat well, and the people who encounter them—myself included—will have a provocative conversation.”

The Crocker Art Museum is one of the leading art institutions in California. Established in 1885, the Museum offers a diverse spectrum of special exhibitions, events and programs to augment its collections of California, European, Asian, African, and Oceanic artworks. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Tuesday–Wednesday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays; 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday–Sunday. Every Third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday” sponsored by Bank of America. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org

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