Civic Exchange Society
May 4, 2018 to December 31, 2018

Civic Exchange Society (CES) will release CES-003 Sensible Work Black Tea Porter, the third and final release in its 2018 line of craft beverages. In keeping with CES’s overarching interest in thinking about the socio-economic, political, and creative systems of exchange that govern our society, the design of the Sensible Work Black Tea Porter can features the quote, “ No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him”.

Civic Exchange Society is the result of an ongoing collaboration between MMoCA, artist Meg Mitchell, Octopi Brewing, and Art & Sons. This collective evolved as a way to call attention to acts of creative exchange—the ways individuals and organizations can combine talents, resources, and innovative thinking to encourage human connection through shared experiences. In the spring of 2018, the first beverage was released, CES-001 Juicy Return IPA followed by CES-002 Liberated Passions Cider in the fall.

The Civic Exchange Society was born out of Meg Mitchell’s large-scale sculptural installation, Tenacious Numismatic Hops Exchange: a hop garden for unyielding people, which MMoCA commissioned and installed in the spring of 2017. Mitchell’s Hops Exchange is composed of six identical aluminum beams extending up the brick wall in the museum’s rooftop garden. It is also a trellis system, a living artwork seasonally covered by a wild tangle of hop vines. The need to find a functional use for the rooftop hops prompted Mitchell and MMoCA to pursue the possibility of brewing beer—an idea that became a reality when Art & Sons and Octopi Brewing signed on as creative partners.  

In the spirit of Allan Kaprow’s pioneering “happenings” of the 1960s and Joseph Beuys’s Fluxus-inspired “action art,” CES blurs the line between art and everyday life. In doing so, this group of Madison-based creative producers playfully taps into the social function of beer drinking as a means of bringing people together. Brewed by Octopi and based on flavor profiles developed by the brewery and Mitchell, CES’s specialty line of beer will be available first at MMoCA in conjunction with an interactive performance. Much like Kaprow’s expansive vision of art, these events extend art into the realm of daily experience where human interactions are themselves the work of art.