If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a patron of the arts — not just a regular ol’ museum member but a big-deal donor with cash to burn — then consider the new $375 Kaiseki Art and Dining Experience at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Launched on July 6 and running every other Wednesday through September 7, the lavish affair starts with a curator-led, after-hours tour of two special exhibitions: “Van Gogh and the Olive Groves” and “Dressed by Nature: Textiles of Japan.” The former is a welcome reminder of why Van Gogh was the ultimate tortured artist (he painted this series during a six-month stint in a psychiatric hospital); the latter is a sprawling overview of Japanese garments worn between 1750 and 1930.
Japanese and Korean art curator Andreas Marks deserves a special shout-out for the spectacular textile show, which highlights everything from shibori festival kimonos to Ainu ceremonial robes (of which Mia houses the largest collection outside of Japan). Especially fascinating are the natural ingredients—fish skin, reindeer sinew, banana leaves, persimmon juice—used to create some of the pieces.
The multi-course dinner that follows the hour-long private tour is helmed by two of Minneapolis’ best known and most beloved chefs: Jamie Malone of Paris Dining Club and Shigeyuki Furukawa of Kado No Mise. Both play to their strengths with elegant courses loosely inspired by the night’s art.
We won’t spoil what was served — that each dish is poetically detailed on a ribbon-tied scroll is part of the fun. What we can say is that Mia’s twist on a kaiseki dinner is unlike any other dining experience in the Twin Cities right now: a roomful of gregarious strangers clinking glasses of biodynamic wine and nibbling on Sawagani crabs to benefit one of the finest art museums in the Midwest.
It’s not for everyone, but when else will you get to eat amber dashi gelée with blue prawn and steamed Hokkaido uni next to paintings worth more than we’ll earn in four lifetimes?
Kaiseki Art and Dining Experience at Mia
2400 3rd Ave S., Minneapolis, MN; 888-642-2787.