Nectar of the Gods, Explained

Six empty, mostly dented Diet Mountain Dew (DMD) cans were photographed 400 times in locations throughout the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia (DMV) to form an exhibition called “Nectar of the Gods,” which can be viewed on the @DMDdmv Instagram.

The exhibition is a celebration of the cool, refreshing virtues of Diet Mountain Dew as well as the beauty of our nation’s capital region.

“I recognize that not everyone appreciates the color of Diet Mountain Dew, its caffeine content, cloying taste, aspartame, or sexiness,” said its creator.

Each of the exhibition’s 400 photographs or videos is tagged for location and is accompanied by a relevant saying, quote, observation, and/or condemnation of Vladimir Putin.

“I began to deny the pleasures of Diet Mountain Dew to the madman Putin following the invasion of Ukraine,” said its creator. “Art and artists do not reside in a bubble separated from the events of the world around them. To celebrate something so absurd as Diet Mountain Dew without recognizing some very real horrors of the madman’s is living in denial.”

Viewers will also encounter the occasional barbed references to competing beverage, Mello Yello Zero.

Since August of 2021, its creator has traveled around the DMV by auto, Metro, on foot, and on bicycle with the six cans in a green nylon backpack to create the exhibition. All six original cans survived the travels.

Its creator was inspired by an oil painting of a dented can of Mountain Dew he saw in an art gallery attached to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Music fans can also listen to a unique cover version of Lana Del Rey’s “Diet Mountain Dew” on YouTube:

“This exhibition is a pandemic project,” its creator remarked. “At least I got to know Washington DC better.”

On the advice of his physician, Novak stopped drinking Diet Mountain Dew when he captured the 400th image, a photo in front of the Pepsi bottling plant in Hyattsville.


No. 36 on the Capitol Lawn. The riot fencing from before times had come down, new golf-course quality lawn had been introduced, and people were strolling around as if the grounds hadn’t been the site of the worst political conflict in generations (here).

No. 148 at Holy Trinity School in Georgetown. From the very of this exhibit, third-grade teacher Kathleen Fitzpatrick launched and made the basketball shot that broke the internet in the days before Christmas of 2021 (here).

No. 239 at space #D32 at a parking garage in Rosslyn where the secret meetings between Bob Woodward of The Washington Post and the FBI #2 Mark “Deep Throat” Felt took place (here).

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