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“The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals” ends April 16; “Detroit After Dark” ends April 23

 Two popular exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) are in their final weeks: “The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals” is on view through April 16, and the photography show “Detroit After Dark” closes April 23. Both exhibitions are free with museum admission, which is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

 “The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals” was organized by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and features 140 rare prints, serving manuals and cookbooks dating from the 16th to 18th centuries. For the poor, public celebrations and street parades provided the opportunity to feast from large-scale edible creations made of breads, cheeses and meats. At court festivals, banquet displays and dessert buffets featured lavish table monuments made of sugar, flowers and fruit. Images of towering garden sculptures and extravagant table pieces designed for Italian and French courts and street festivals have survived in illustrated books and prints, many of which are featured in the exhibition.

 The exhibition also includes the monumental sugar sculpture “Palace of Circe” by British sculptor and culinary historian Ivan Day. The sugar sculpture is based on an 18th-century print and its figures are meant to show the consequences of gluttony with a story about the ancient Greek hero Ulysses.

 Glittering skylines, quiet streets, raucous nightclubs and corner bars are just some of the images that appear in “Detroit After Dark: Photographs from the DIA Collection.” The exhibition includes dramatic architectural studies, street scenes, graffiti and otherworldly vignettes as well as some of Detroit’s famous nighttime haunts, like the premier jazz club Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, the legendary Grande Ballroom and punk and garage rock dens such as Bookie’s Club and the Gold Dollar.

 While most of the photographers are from Detroit, the exhibition also includes rare after-hours views by Robert Frank, such as his 1955 “City Hall, Detroit.” A small supplement of work from Paris and New York, taken between 1920 and 1960, is also on view in an area adjacent to the gallery, establishing Detroit’s part in a visual tradition and history shared with other great cities and the photographers who shaped the genre of night photography.

Museum hours: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $12.50 for adults, $8 for seniors ages 62+, $6 for ages 6–17. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.

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