Art Meets Beast at MCA Denver

Butchering a buffalo is bloody, smelly work. It takes strength, it takes time, and it draws flies by the hundreds. The Plains Indians and white buffalo hunters did it as often as they could, following the herds, hunting them, breaking down the animals they killed on spot. While that would have been fascinating to watch, it's hard to imagine that the men who butchered these bison saw themselves as performance artists. And none of them were serenaded by vegetarian guitarists as a commentary on food and nutrition.

Tonight, MCA Denver will change that when Jimmy "the Butcher" Cross of Marczyk Fine Foods performs in the round in the garage of the museum, breaking down an entire buffalo (although it will arrive skinned and halved) for a paying audience.

It will be bloody. It will be smelly. And it's intended to remind people that food doesn't come pre-packaged and ready for the grill. Luckily, drinks will be served.

“The butcher usually works overnight. He usually practices his art when no one is looking," says MCA Denver programming director Sarah Baie. "So this is a way of demystifying food. It's part of a larger movement right now."

When the carving is finished, hunks of meat will be doled out to some of the city's most well-known chefs, who have 24 hours to turn whatever parts they end up with into a meal that could serve up to 500 people the next evening.

The show is part of an extravaganza at MCA Denver titled Art Meets Beast that explores food, art and the cultural history of the bison. The bison breakdown begins tonight at 6 p.m.; tickets are $10 for MCA Denver members and $15 for non-members. The beast roast takes place Thursday, November 11, at 7 p.m.; tickets are $45 and $50. For more information, call MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, at 303 298 7554 or log on to
Wed., Nov. 10; Thu., Nov. 11, 2010

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes