“Angels, Demons, Savages” and frozen custard

Ossorio_Perpetual Sacrifice_1949_image_1024w
You see Ossorio's "Perpetual Sacrifice." I see frozen custard. (Courtesy National Gallery of Art)

In terms of recent D.C. based historical-commercial tie-ins, abstract expressionism and frozen custard ranks pretty high on the "I did not see that coming" scale. It would probably also surprise Jackson Pollock, Jean Dubuffet and Alfonso Ossorio to see their work reflected upon the chilly canvas of a paper Shake Shack cup. And yet, the subjects of the Phillips Collection's "Angels, Demons and Savages" exhibition are also the inspiration for a new line of desserts at the burger chain.

Attendees of the Phillips After 5 event May 2 can sample and vote for SHACKson Pollock, Abstract ESPRESSOnist and Salted Surrealism flavors; the most popular selection will then earn a spot on the menu at Shake Shack's Dupont Circle location from May 6-12. (Beginning Thursday, one flavor per week will be available for sampling at Shake Shack leading up to Phillips After 5.)

Mark Rosati, Shake Shack's manager of culinary development, explored each artist's oeuvre to create the concoctions, though it's unclear to what extent Ossorio's work was actually influenced by cinnamon marshmallow swirls, or Pollock's by lemon pound cake. From the press release:

Abstract ESPRESSOnist, inspired by Alfonso Ossorio featuring espresso custard blended with chocolate butter toffee and cinnamon marshmallow swirls; SHACKson Pollock, inspired by none other than Jackson Pollock featuring coconut custard with raspberry jam swirls and lemon pound cake; Salted Surrealism, inspired by Jean Dubuffet featuring salted caramel banana custard with dark chocolate fudge ripple.

Alex Baldinger is editor of the Going Out Guide blog, which covers food, drink, arts, music, events and other curiosities in the D.C. area. He is forever in search of a great sandwich.
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Alex Baldinger · April 9, 2013