Launched under the title Café In, the exhibition marches not only through the history of coffee, first used as a medicine for gout and glumness well into the 18th Century, then includes its role
in the art of seduction, the creation of art, its transformation in 19th century France (and later America) as the name for small bistros where people came together to gossip and philosophize,
--Jean-Paul Sartre at Café de Flore, Paris
its intractable connection to cigarettes, its geography of exploitation north from Ethiopia toward the Arabian peninsula, Constantinople, Venice and eventually to Mexico, the French Caribbean and Brazil, currently the world's largest coffee producer.
--Workers in Ethiopia sorting fresh coffee beans called "cherries"
Co-curator Michel Djin, president of the Fondation Malongo, the allied coffee producer that co-produced the show, likes to call coffee and cafés "a marriage not only of commerce but of passion." That passion, needless to imagine, carries dark chapters in its history, notably under French Carribbean Portuguese Brazilian slavery, without which its place in the lives of urban trendies in Europe and America might never have developed.
--Slave Whipping in Brazil
The show is immense, even including science, hygiene and agronomy as well as a month long of shows and seminars throughout this month in cafés, halls and clubs concentrated in central Marseille minutes away from the MuCem, yet again illustrating the MuCem's mission of linking art to popular life.
--Women at the Cafe Wepler, Paris by Albert André