Museums are great places to learn about the history of art. You can learn about painting, photography, sculpture and Molotov cocktail bomb making! Yes, Molotov cocktail bomb making! It won’t be on the adult course guide but if you pop over to the Natalie Bell Building at Tate Modern, you’ll find Cildo Meireles’s ‘Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Coca-Cola Project’.
The ‘Coca-Cola Project’ is made up of a row of three modified Coca-Cola bottles filled with varying amounts of cola inside them. The bottles have been altered with subversive messages including, “Yankees Go Home!”, “Which is the place of the work of art?” and instructions for making Molotov cocktail bombs added to them.
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948, Meireles made this work in response to the dictatorship running the country during the 1970’s. Many artists and protestors were living under threat of violence and censorship. The bottles are the remnants of a socio-political, artistic action or performance which encouraged citizens to share the subversive messages printed on the bottles. As the owner drank the cola the subversive messages became less visible on the transparent bottle.
The work can be seen in Tate Modern, Natalie Bell Building, Level 4, Gallery 9 ‘A View from Buenos Aires: Systems and Communications’ and in Pinacoteca, São Paulo, Brazil.