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Etienne Meneau "Carafe No. 5"

Etienne Meneau "Carafe No. 5"

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From: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Limited Edition: 40
Exhibition: How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 72" (88cm x 182cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


A "smell wall" was one of the unusual installations at SFMOMA's recent exhibition, How Wine Became Modern. After learning about the transformation of wine over the last 30 years on macro, social, and cultural levels, museum visitors experienced the smell wall, in which seven wines in glass flasks were suspended from a wall. Not only an olfactory foray into wine culture, the ingenious smell wall helped examine the role that language of the nose has played in the wine movement.


In a famous blind taste test, nine French wine experts deemed several California wines superior to esteemed French vintages. Since that day in France in 1976, wine became “modern,” and a transformation of the visual and material culture of wine was underway. Popular awareness of wine and its markets exploded. Vineyard tourism became chic. And the language of wine became what some consider elegantly sophisticated and what others decry as “vinobabble”. The new wine culture established viticultural priorities such as globalization, innovation, and diversification. SFMOMA’s recent exhibition studied all aspects modern of wine from Etienne Meneau’s Carafe No. 5 to the importance of terroir in producing wine.

The object selected for the banner that promoted the exhibition was Etienne Meneau’s Carafe No. 5. Combining art with functionality, Carafe No. 5 is a one of a series of wine decanters that resembles the roots of a plant or perhaps blood vessels. Hand-blown from a very strong borosilicate glass, the piece stands about two feet tall with eight “feet” and holds one full bottle of wine. Like other pieces in the Strange Carafes collection, only eight numbered and signed carafes, plus four artist proofs, were made of No. 5.

The front side of the banner shows a photograph of a bottle of red wine being poured into Carafe No. 5. The exhibition title, How Wine Became Modern, appears in white capital letters on a red background simulating a glass of red wine on the back side of the banner. Following the title are the exhibition dates, Nov 20—Apr 17, and SFMOMA’s logo.


This banner was displayed around the San Francisco area between November 20, 2010 and April 17, 2011.

About the Artist

Learn more about Etienne Meneau

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