Sweet Art: Real Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Pops Up in Chelsea

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Who knew that art could be so yummy? David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea has been transformed into a mini-candy factory cranking out thousands of bite-sized sweets every day – all in the name of art. And unlike Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you don’t need a golden ticket to enter and indulge here; it’s all free and open to the public.

David Zwirner Gallery 09

How Sweet It Is

Artist Oscar Murillo is the Willy Wonka behind this sugar-charged art exhibit, entitled A Mercantile Novel. In collaboration with Colombina, a top confectionary company in Colombia, Murillo has built a fully operational production site in the gallery, staffed by experienced candy-making employees. The result? You’ll find thousands of the Chocmelo, one of Colombina’s signature candies, poured into bulk bins or wrapped in smiley face-stamped packages – all up for grabs.

David Zwirner Gallery 03

The Story Behind the Sugar

The artist’s goal is to raise awareness about trade and globalization, but that lofty intent will surely fly over the heads of most kids (and sweet-toothed adults). The rich smell of cocoa immediately hits you when you enter the gallery, which looks more like a roomy section of Whole Foods than a showroom for some of the hottest contemporary artists. On the walls are video projections of Colombina employees at work, and in the center of the gallery is the pièce de résistance: delectable chocolate-covered marshmallows.

David Zwirner Gallery 07

Treat Yourself

Don’t be shy about sampling and taking home some of the yum-yums (and, believe us, your kids will be happy to do so). The artist and gallery encourage gallery-goers to take candy and share it throughout the city by any mode of transportation and then post that information on the exhibit’s website. Murillo hopes that these candy-sharing journeys will illustrate the city’s diversity throughout the five boroughs.

Art in the Making

And, by the way, you don’t need to travel all the way to Hershey, Pa to see how candy is made. While you’re at the gallery, be sure to peek between the wall of boxes at the far end of the gallery. You and the kids can spy on the workers as they make the actual chocolates you’re eating. Sweet!

Go: David Zwirner Gallery
519 W. 19th St., Chelsea
Phone: 212-727-2070
Exhibition Dates & Hours: Now to June 14, 2014. Tues.- Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Free
Have you been to see this sweet art exhibit? Tell us how many chocolates your kids ate in the Comments!

–Alice Perry

All photos by Alice Perry, except last photo by Scott Rudd, courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

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