OTHER ARTISTS MUSEUMS
THE MUSEUM OF DRAWERS
Between 1970 and 1977 the Swiss artist Herbert Distel worked on his Schubladenmuseum, a collection of miniature contemporary artworks. It is also known as “Le Musée en Tiroirs” and the “The Museum of Drawers”. Nearly all the contributions were created expressly for the museum.
“The Museum of Drawers”, a former box for reels of sewing silk from an old haberdasher’s shop, comprises 500 small rooms made up of 20 drawers, each with 25 compartments. The whole museum stands on the 501st work of art, the metal base by Ed Kienholz.
The work has been in possession of the Kunsthaus Zürich since 1979, when it was donated to the gallery by the artist and the Julius Baer Foundation.
“Almost 40 years have elapsed since Distel started work on the Schubladenmuseum, and some of the miniature objects it contains are now in a poor state of preservation due to the deterioration of materials and/or mechanical damage (e.g. damage in transit). The authority and expressiveness of the artwork is thus at risk of being undermined. In collaboration with Bern University of the Arts’ Department of Conservation and Restoration, a project was initiated for the purpose of conserving and restoring the Schubladenmuseum.” – Kunsthaus Zürich
The work has been in possession of the Kunsthaus Zürich since 1979, when it was donated to the gallery by the artist and the Julius Baer Foundation. The following two photographs are from the website of the Kunsthaus Zürich.
THE MUSEUM OF POCKET ART, MOPA
The Museum of Pocket Art began eight years ago in response to an idea by author Walter Mosley. Everyone should carry with them a small artwork in a pocket to enrich their day and share with others. MoPA took this idea and organized it into a formal venue for contemporary artists and patrons.
MoPA introduces artwork from contemporary artists in an intimate and personal way. The Museum displays works of art created to fit inside a wallet, business-card-sized. MoPA shows at the opening of other art exhibits, or “leaches” the reception. At the reception, a MoPA representative approaches people individually and asks if he or she would like to visit the works on display. Currently MoPA hosts four shows a year.
THE WRONG GALLERY
This blurring of boundaries is one of many attacks against authority that Cattelan perpetrates. But as Sirmans notes in the accompanying catalog, Cattelan has a long tradition of work in and out of normative roles. In addition to making sculpture and installations, Cattelan also worked on the publication Permanent Food and acted as curator for the Wrong Gallery and the 2006 Berlin Biennial along with curators Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick. This kind of interdisciplinary activity cuts against the grain of traditional divisions of labor in the art world. The myth of these divisions is based on the notion that artists are dumb mute expressionists who use innate talent to make objects that are interpreted by critics, bought by collectors and arranged by curators. By resisting this mythology, Cattelan capitalizes on the expansion of artistic practice by many artists of the twentieth century such as Duchamp and Warhol found in the Menil Collection.
CENTRE POMPIDOU AMBULANT
Le projet de l'architecte Patrick Bouchain.
Si vous n'allez pas au musée, le musée viendra à vous... C'est ce principe qu'adoptera bientôt le « Centre Pompidou mobile », comme vient de l'annoncer Alain Seban, directeur de l'institution parisienne. Un « mini Beaubourg », structure nomade et démontable de 1000 carrés, se déplacera donc en France, dans les territoires mal irrigués par la culture, pour montrer les oeuvres de la collection.
Conçue par l'architecte Patrick Bouchain, sur le modèle des chapiteaux de cirque, le dispositif sera modulable et adaptable aux espaces où il se posera temporairement, parking de centre commercial, caserne désaffectée, place de petite ville. « Abaisser les barrières symboliques entre le public et les institutions culturelles », « montrer le caractère irremplaçable de l'expérience du musée », constituent les objectifs du projet. Des expositions thématiques seront proposées. la première sur le thème de la couleur, présentera une quinzaine d'oeuvres phares, de Matisse et Picasso, à Calder et Soulages.
Le coût du « Centre Pompidou mobile » est évalué à 3 millions d'euros. 500 000 seront pris en charge par le Conseil de la Création artistique. Restent à trouver de gentils mécènes pour financer la différence. « Si tout se passe bien, déclare Alain Seban, la première étape pourrait avoir lieu dès l'automne 2010 ».
El Guggensito de Eder Castillo es una estructura inflable que remeda las audaces formas del Museo Guggenheim de Bilbao. El diseño es deliberadamente torpe, un “fake” barato, como las imitaciones de marcas internacionales que se venden en los tianguis. El nombre encierra un doble tropo: sito, como diminutivo, con el característico cambio ortográfico de la “c” en “s”, y sito en alusión a sitio, al trabajo de site specific. El artista no lo ha “expuesto” en primer término, sino que lo ofrece gratuitamente a la gente que quiera llevarlo a sus barrios, para que los niños hagan lo que se puede esperar tratándose de un inflable: brincar sobre é.l
El artista comentó que este prototipo fue diseñado con la intención de instalarse en zonas que por su localización geográfica están aisladas del circuito cultural y en las que, en la mayoría de los casos, no se contemplan estas actividades.
Es un obra visualizada para llegar a estas zonas, colonias marginadas, que se localizan sobre todo en la zona conurbada de la ciudad. Con esto se demuestra que el arte contemporáneo no se quiere quedar atado a un solo lugar, refirió Eder Castillo.
La pieza es capaz de desplazarse –señaló— y tener un diálogo directo con personas que difícilmente han tenido acceso a experiencias culturales. No es una exposición, sino un generador de espacios; habla de lo arquitectónico, lo artístico y lo urbano, pero sobre todo deja que las personas hablen sobre sí mismas”.
Detalló que la idea surgió cuando se enteré de que México iba a tener su propio Museo Guggenheim, proyecto que al final se canceló. “Lo que más me llamó la atención fue la importancia de generar políticas culturales integradoras, es decir, proyectos que realmente se acercaran a las comunidades más alejadas de las zonas culturales”.
El GuggenSITO fue construido con una lona plástica reforzada, dispone de un espacio interior de 56 metros con capacidad para albergar de 10 a 15 personas.
Durante su exhibición en el Ex Teresa Arte Actual, se pondrá a disposición del público un video que documenta el viaje que realizó la escultura inflable durante los meses de marzo a mayo.
Eder Castillo informó que luego de estar en la capital del país, viajará al Museo de Artes y Ciencias de San Luis Potosí, al Museo de Arte y Diseño de Costa Rica y a San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“Mi idea es que la pieza se destruya por sí misma, que esté tan parchada y usada y que sea necesario, tal vez, construir otra, si es que se requiere”, expuso Eder Castillo.
El artista comentó que la pieza se dirige sobre todo al público infantil, por lo que los niños que lo visiten podrán pintar en sus paredes, para dar espacio a una de las inquietudes que tienen y cómo las desahogan.
“Esa una actividad que se dio de manera coyuntural, pues el proyecto no estaba pensado con ese propósito, sino para utilizar los espacios públicos para actividades culturales, y fomentar así la participación ciudadana.
“Pero todo ha sido muy positivo y enriquecedor, tanto para los visitantes a la escultura, como para mí como creador de la idea, pues es una pieza que al mismo tiempo puede ser considerada escultura y juguete, sus interpretaciones se abren enormemente”, consideró Eder Castillo.
Un complemento a la experiencia de visitar la escultura inflable es que se proyectarán dentro de ella diversos videos, unos con el recuento de las experiencias previas.
Apoyan: FONCA, INBA y Exteresa Arte Actal
Colaboran: Antimuseo y Arteven
(Tlalnepantla, México, 1977)
Artista autodidacta, ha generado propuestas de arte que retoman el espacio público combinando el uso de nuevas tecnologías y dinámicas sociales, en la confluencia de la arquitectura, la investigación artística y la antropología. Ha desarrollado muestras, conferencias e intervenciones, participado en diversas exhibiciones y festivales de arte, trabajado y colaborado en diferentes plataformas, desde gestor cultural, curador, y docente; su trabajo se ha mostrado en México y otros países como Japón, Sudáfrica, Indonesia, Suecia, Polonia, Brasil, Honduras o El Salvador. Vive y trabaja en la Ciudad de México.
SIN TÍTULO 1 (CHOZAS DE PASTOR)
Este proyecto consiste en intervenir un elemento arquitectónico popular obsoleto, en la zona agrícola sur de la provincia de Burgos, combinando técnicas de construcción tradicionales y el principio de funcionalidad de la cámara obscura, con el fin de construir un dispositivo de observación del paisaje desde el que desentramar las conexiones entre la percepción visual y los mecanismos de identidad, afectivos y de relación con el medio que nos rodea, en un entorno muy concreto, el rural contemporáneo.
El objetivo es provocar un acercamiento, por parte de los habitantes de las poblaciones cercanas a los terrenos intervenidos, hacia su propio paisaje, que muchas veces, debido a los nuevos hábitos urbanitas de las pequeñas poblaciones, es ignorado. Con ello revisar los parámetros por los que se mueve la percepción visual contemporánea en el ámbito rural y como está interconectada con mecanismos de identidad.
THE NEW PALESTINIAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY AND HUMANKIND
‘Set in the shadow of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens , Khalil Rabah’s The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind, demonstrates his ability to continually subvert and circumnavigate expectation. The museum celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and previous realizations in Berlin, London, Ramallah and Istanbul have been located within a mythical, psychic space that have somehow managed to fuse ground art with the dematerialization of the art object. Now the New Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind is being unveiled and unlike these previous manifestations – designed to deliberately thwart expectation and blur boundaries between the real and the virtual – will be housed in a specially designed building with a traditional layout.
Belief in the authenticity of the contents on display is both encouraged and undermined and inside the museum the actual, the historic, the remembered and the imagined are collapsed into fluid figures, hyprid structures and fractured forms. Through his astute and well-targeted parodies, Rabah suspends his New Museum somewhere in between a museum of the absurd and the horrors of political reality, reminding us that Palestine remains without a national museum and is faced with international indifference as its social, cultural and ecological infrastructures are torn apart.’
By Kelly O’Rielly first published in The Grand Promenade catalogue 2006, page 22
Asunción Molinos Gordo
MUSEUM OF SAFETY GEAR FOR SMALL ANIMALS
Safety Gear for Small Animals is “the largest producer of safety gear for small animals in the world.” Bill Burns is the Director of the company which includes several divisions: safety gear prototype production, conservation and relocation, a multi-media program, a toll-free telephone service, a prosthetics program, a modest publishing house and an itinerant museum.
Using the conventions of a traditional natural history museum, Burns humorously combines his tiny rescue and safety items for endangered animals with helpful information that guides viewers through the exhibition. Speaking about the Museum of Safety Gear for Small Animals, Burns comments “The museum is central to our mission. Its renowned collection is made up of nineteen pieces of scale model safety and rescue gear. The total weight of the safety gear collection is 944 grams…There are 2,750 machine stitches and 234 hand stitches in the museum’s safety gear collection.” Publications by Safety Gear for Small Animals include titles like How to Help Animals Escape from Natural History and How to Help Animals Escape from Degraded Habitats.
Beneath the appeal of the miniscule safety vests, work gloves, bulletproof vests, U.V. goggles and respirators developed for our furry friends, lies a frightening warning about our stewardship of the environment. Exhibition Curator Annette Hurtig comments:
“While providing sound scientific fact, the exhibition functions also as a kind of cautionary tale, as a moral fable, an apologue, if you will, and as a visual allegory, offering lessons and pragmatic advice for those interested in the plight of animals.”
Bill Burns was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria in 1980. He then studied at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, England for a Masters of Fine Arts, graduating in 1987. Burns is the recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
His recent activities include the 2002 commissioned exhibition Everything I Could Buy On eBAY About Malaria for the Wellcome Trust Gallery in London, England, an event that was a smash hit with both the contemporary art critics and the popular press, and a presentation at the 2003 Bienal de la Habana in Cuba. Burns launched Safety Gear for Small Animals at New York City’s Gallery 303 in 1994. Since then the itinerant Safety Gear for SmallAnimalsMuseum has been exhibited in Seoul, London, Los Angeles, Havana, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Marseilles and Montreal.
This exhibition was collaboratively organized and produced by curator Annette Hurtig, ArtGallery of Greater Victoria, Evergreen Cultural Centre, KamloopsArtGallery, KenderdineArtGallery, Liane & Danny Taran Gallery at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, TomThomsonMemorialArtGallery.
The exhibition, tour and publication are supported in part by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and the Museum Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.
THE MUSEUM OF PROJECTIVE PERSONALITY TESTING
Although standardized tests date back to the Chinese imperial examinations of 587 AD, modern personality tests only emerged during the First World War, when the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet was devised to help the U.S. Army screen for those recruits who might be most susceptible to shellshock. The first “projective” test was devised in 1922 by Hermann Rorschach, who invited patients to interpret ten inkblots, in the process revealing personality traits through their attempt to impose meaning on the random stains.
The Museum Projective Personality Testing is pleased to present a touring exhibit of tests drawn from its archive. The purpose of all projective tests – the Thematic Apperception Test, the Duess Test and the Draw-a-Person Test being three of the most widely administered – is to give the psychologist access to patients’ hidden motives through their free-associations from visual and verbal cues. As part of its mission, the museum will not only present the origins and uses of these tests but also subject visitors to them.
Sina Najafi is the founding editor of Cabinet magazine. Christopher Turner is a writer and editor for Cabinet. Both are based in New York. Additional research for this museum was performed by Madeline Hollander.
THE UK MUSEUM OF ORDURE
Everything that is represented in the UK Museum of Ordure (UKMO) is subject to the vagaries of an uncontrolled internal auto-destructive process (not a virus) which slowly deforms and disables all information held in the museum. This is comparable to the decaying processes which affect all artifacts in museums, regardless of all attempts at preservation: the retouching, repainting, cleaning, etc, which are incorporated risks to the purity of artifacts when first acquired by museums. Even 'successful' renovations are subject to periodic changes resulting from shifts in
conservation policies. Eventually (and in accordance with the fallibilities of memory) artifacts are institutionally, progressively, determinedly and inadvertantly altered by acts of conservation (sometimes unintentional acts of institutional vandalism) until they cease to be recognisable as the objects first acquired. Of course in both cases - in the virtual environment and in the material world - the processes of generation, decay, and entropy are paramount. Museums are by this definition charged with achieving the impossible.
UKMO is primarily 'immaterial', but is no less susceptible to irrevocable change, revealing hardly perceptable but accreting shifts in qualities of appearance, meaning, and information, even as it consciously attempts to maintain the seamless surface of 'the museum' as a custodian or guardian of culture. There is a further question as to the inevitable fallability of bureaucracies common to institutional behaviours where the very systems employed are similarly subject to uncontrolled interference. In this respect, UKMO regards its endeavours - including the changing conditions it is subject to - and the subjection of changes on the immaterial condition of the artifact - as being subject to the fortunes of institutional bodies in general. However, UKMO is arguably of a different order. By continuing to preserve itself and at the same time embrace the inviolability of change, it asserts that changes wrought beyond the museum's control neither lower nor raise the values of the artifact in its remit. Are we witness to the death of something and the birth of something else? UKMO embraces all that changes while attempting to preserve productive contradiction and undetermined resolutions. It suggests a restless state of things and thinglessness, a dimension in
the state of 'becoming', where redundant values may come to rest.
THE MUSEUM OF NON PARTICIPATION
Karen Mirza and Brad Butler conceived The Museum of Non Participation in 2007 when - during the Pakistani Lawyers movement in Islamabad - they viewed the protests and subsequent state violence from a window in The National Art Gallery.
Since then they have pursued ideas connected to their position that day - through conversation, images, activities and narratives following strands of dialogue to different people, places and contexts.
Working over an eighteen month period with street vendors, Urdu translators, architects, estate agents, housing activists, lawyers, hairdressers, filmmakers, wedding photographers, newspaper printers, artists and writers, they have played out different manifestations of The Museum of Non Participation.
The project first appeared as an English/Urdu language class in September 2008. The free class invited English and Urdu speakers to exchange conversational language under the guidance and mediation of Hasan Navid. It became a space for cultural and linguistic exchange travelling from the Oxford House community centre in Bethnal Green to an invited space behind Yaseen’s Hairdressers on the Bethnal Green Road and to a public performance at the Guernica room in the Whitechapel Gallery.
Hosted by artist collective VASL, Mirza and Butler returned to Karachi for a second time in December 2008, where they occupied a space at the Pakistani Arts Council; this open space became a location to work through ideas with (non) participants and a base from which they conducted interventions outside in the streets of the city. They distributed newspapers as packaging for food sold by the tandoor walla’s, presented performance interventions at Sunday Bazaar, and worked with sign writers to produce text banners and wall paintings that demarcated the Museum as a pop-up institution, announcing a new way of moving through and looking at the city: in a city with almost no museums, the city itself becomes the museum.
The scars of colonialism, partition and subsequent post colonialist ventures of improvement run deep in Karachi. Representations of Pakistan by Western media portray a rogue state suffering from conflict, extremism, natural disasters and sporadic martial law, made more fearsome by its nuclear status. The Museum of Non Participation seeks to discover the patterns and realities of everyday life and to find other languages and other voices.
The project has variously taken the form of film, an Urdu/English language exchange, street interventions, a radio show and performances. On 20 September 2009 a newspaper publication featuring some of the different voices and interpretations of the title was distributed across the UK as a supplement of The Daily Jang - the international newspaper from Pakistan’s oldest and largest media group.
This newspaper preceded the official ‘launch’ of The Museum of Non Participation, a month-long festival (25 September - 25 October 2009) behind Yaseen barbers shop on Bethnal Green Road. It brought together the multiple faces of the project in a programme of film screenings, talks, discussions, Urdu poetry, and performance.
The Museum of Non Participation raises questions about resistance and the choice and consequence of action vs inaction. The strictures of conflict, class and monetary divisions within a globalised world provoke engagement with the problems of participating or not participating in such a system, whether in Karachi, London or elsewhere; The Museum of Non Participation examines how our lives in one space have implications on the other.
Karen Mirza and Brad Butler can be heard discussing The Museum of Non Participation in the first Artangel Podcast, released on 21 January 2010. Click here to download or listen.
"We know enough to make up lies which are convincing, but we also have the skill, when we will, to speak the truth." (The Muses to Hesiod. Hesiod, Theogony 25)
What is the Museum of Non Participation? Does it have a mission, and collections? Is it an enigma, a paradox, or a joke? Might it be all these and more, or simply one more art-world folly competing for attention? Do its founders ask serious questions, or question seriousness? Is it disinterest or complicity in disguise? Is its title a misnomer? Many questions confront this project; perhaps that is its purpose, because in querying it we are forced to interrogate the boundaries of participation and museums.
Museums are respectable institutions charged with the preservation, interpretation and display of objects. They are good places to visit while on holiday, or on rainy days out with the kids. We rarely stop to question them. Perhaps it is the combination of well-trained smiles emitted from visitor-enquiry desks, the lure of gift shops, proffering ersatz antiquities and the bottled Lethe water sold in air-conditioned cafés that makes museums feel so comfortable and cuddly, and encourages us to avert our eyes from the violence, both mythical and real, that lies at their foundation. Who after all would want to hear the 'hapless soldier's sigh, that runs in blood down palace walls' while trying to grab a bit of culture on a Sunday afternoon?
But our museums are far from innocent; they are at best a bloody pirate's treasure trove. So why not question them? After all it would be comforting to know that the previous owner of a painting that we so admire had not perished in a gas-chamber, or that the wonderful display of marble sculptures in gallery X hadn't been nicked by an upstart ambassador and bequeathed to the Nation in exchange for some ignoble honour. But even after pushing aside the violence of plunder, our museums still confront us with successive layers of brutality disguised as culture. There is: the violence of restoration, which has erased so many works of art; the violence of sacrilege that denies the religious significance of countless 'curated' objects; the violence of professional discourse that cocoons the initiated and intimidates the 'untutored'; and the violence of desecration, which haunts so many living peoples. Then, least we forget, there is the plagiaristic violence perpetuated by a Frankenstein monster that, with the heart of a rebel and the hands of a colonial despot, calls itself, in true military fashion, the avant-garde. And of course there is the violence of denial implicit in all interpretation. Europe possesses no word to fully express its cruelties, but Mexican Spanish does. It is a word that evokes the Conquest, and the wealth that flooded Seville and drained into the coffers of Italian renaissance banks. It is a word with countless facets; whole sentences can be constructed by manipulating its inflections. It flavours everyday speech with bile. The word is Chinga. It means fuck, rape, destruction, pillage, hopelessness, despair and theft. It evokes a mythical time and place; la Chingada, - the rape of mother earth - which in European parlance connotes the discovery of the New World. Thus: Chinga tu madre!
Chingamos los chingones, hijos de la chingada, quien nos chingaron con chingaderas might be politely translated as: for the abuse of your mother let¹s upset those toffs, the descendents of conquest, who treat us unfairly and lie.
But la Chingada is not confined to a resentful memory inscribed in the argot of Mexico. It thrives today in countless 'third world' cities. It is carried in the genetic code of AIDS. It is the force that decimates natural habitats in pursuit of profit. It is the life-blood of the global arms-trade. It is the secret sponsor of our museums.
Our word 'museum' is a sham. The Mouseion (Greek) Museum (Latin) was the temple of the Muses, inspirers of creativity and daughters of Memory. Their house was a place for comtemplation, and debate, the presevation of ideas, creation of poetry and playing music. The idea of a 'museum' as repository of acquisitions is an adjuct to colonialism. Hence the Museum of Non Participation's desire "to swim against the grain". Its collection of metaphors and actions are available for reinterpretation by anyone at anytime. It is a museum of values not valuables, a museum committed to the principles of 'copyleft', not copyright - a museum predicated on the idea that its collections will grow only by giving them away - and the conviction that the reification of Memory is a distortion of her purpose, which is to aid us in imagining our future.
But where does this leave the idea of Non-participation and the slogan: Participate in the Museum of Non Participation. Like the final lines of the first Dada manifesto if you disagree with this manifesto you are a Dadaist it appears to be a paradox. Personally I refuse to take part and consider this museum miss-named; better that we call it the Museum of Heresies, the Museum of Awkward Buggers, or the Museum of Non-acquiescence.
MUSEUM OF INCEST
Simon Fujiwara continuously re-constructs his own identity by weaving his personal and family biographies into the larger scheme of history, through architectural installations, erotic fiction writing and lecture-performances. From expeditions in Africa to the underground world of sex in 70’s Spain, the personal experiences presented in Fujiwara’s lectures are used to explore a range of subjects from ethnology and eroticism to architecture and ancestry. The Museum of Incest (2008–ongoing) is Fujiwara’s architectural project – a fictive institution that explores the
erotic origins of early man whilst proposing family sexuality as a subject for a visitor attraction. Welcome to the Hotel Munber (2007–ongoing), meanwhile, springs from Fujiwara’s re-imagining of his parents’ life running a hotel in Catalunya during the 1970's. Set under the suppression enforced by the Franco dictatorship, Fujiwara’s re-tells their story as a series of gay erotic tales – an attempt to construct a history erased by censorship. Franco’s missing testicle, early mass-tourism and the erotic uses of Spanish architecture all play their part in a subversive world
where history and fiction merge.
The Danger Museum is a visual arts organisation that is everything the museum is not: mobile, temporary, ever-evolving and funny. Since 1998, DM has been travelling to various locations around the world, constantly re-adapting and changing its form to create a diverse and incisive body of visual arts projects. Working from Norway, Japan and Singapore, DM's current directors Tien Wei Woon, Øyvind Renberg and Miho Shimizum say their aim is to 'adopt personal, flexible and direct methods for the exploration and distribution of ideas.'
DM aims to challenge the core values of the art institution, hoping to fill the gaps where the art museum fails. DM sets up dynamic networks and systems of exchange between artists, thereby tackling the inertia of the official institution. DM's projects create meeting points for artists from all over the world, and it is this constant flow of ideas and strategies that keeps DM firmly outside the mainstream visual arts agenda.
DM's projects for inIVA's Soft Season include an online publishing house, chatrooms, webcams, interviews, a library networking project, museum shop, aRt café by Dream Products Co. and a specially produced DM newsletter. The Danger Museum presents four separate projects in TheSpace@inIVA:
Week 1: 4th September - 6th September 2002 Alex Villar - Upward Mobility: a film begun in New York and continued in London, investigating the relationship between architectural space and the body.
Week 2: 11th September - 13th September 2002 Kyong Fa Che: flea-market style account of travelling in Singapore. Plus: The Artists' Village: art collective from Singapore present recent projects.
Week 3: 18th September - 20th September 2002 Matze Schmidt & Sebastian Stegner: two German artists use the space for 'real.-Mapping', an ongoing research project that creates a global map of social life.
Week 4: 25th September - 27th September 2002 Re-analysing the Danger Museum.
the danger museum is part of inIVA's soft season September - December 2002
Soft is inIVA's new season of visual arts projects, bringing together a diverse selection of international artist-curated exhibitions and events. Soft is an exploration of networking, exchange, mobility and interaction, and the season presents these activities as viable strategies for contemporary art production. Crucially, Soft aims to expose the elastic and fluid nature of current visual art practice.
THE MUSEUM OF FAILURE
(The Collection of Impossible Subjects & Invisible Self-Portraits), 2007
(Installation view at Luxe Gallery). 8 ft (2.44 m) x 12 ft (3.65 m) wall of hand-engraved and sanded mirrored plexi-glas, aluminum frame, fluorescent lights. Rear wall painted in latex with pencil drawing, twelve paintings in oils in second-hand frames. Photographs: Jan Baracz
The Collection of Impossible Subjects: Context triumphs over subject. An eight foot by twelve foot rear-illuminated wall of mirrored plexi-glas, hand-engraved to show a salon-style installation of elaborate empty frames. One frame is cut out to provide a view of the room beyond which contains an installation of rectangular Invisible Self-Portraits; the interiors of the other frames have been sanded out leaving an opaque white surface. The paneling of the wall is identical to the paneling of the gallery which can be seen reflected in the mirror.
The Museum of Failure has many rooms. These are the first two.
THE MUSEUM OF CONCEPTUAL ART
The Museum of Conceptual Art was founded in the last century by Earl Vickers.
The Museum defines "conceptual art" as the art of concepts — art in which ideas themselves are the material, the medium, and/or the subject matter. Any accompanying visual representations are purely secondary and largely unnecessary. Thus, we reclaim "conceptual art" from the legions of visual chauvinists who feel entitled to a God-given monopoly on any phrase containing the word "art."
Conceptual art is a high concept movie without the movie. Conceptual art is the shadow in Plato's cave, without Plato or his phony cave. Conceptual art is the realization that once you've come up with the idea for a painting, the actual painting is redundant. Conceptual art is the dog looking at the finger pointing at the moon, while the tree falls and one hand claps. Would you like that in bronze?
To Salvador Dali's assertion that "there is no such thing as a lazy masterpiece," conceptual art replies, "so what?" This is not to deny the need to apply what the Buddhists call "skillful means," but let's not get carried away. It's not like we get paid for this stuff.
For example, if your art consists of urinating on paintings by, say, the nation's most collected living artist, why not buy cheap prints instead of expensive originals? Or scribble the painter's name on a blank canvas and pee on that. Cheaper still, just tell people you pissed on the artist himself. These are just examples.
Conceptual art is the logical extension of the trend toward software, microchips, virtualization, miniaturization and dematerialization. If we get tired of things being light and ephemeral, we can always make them big and lumbering again. With the latest advances in meme engineering, conceptual art seeks the easiest, most efficient ways of planting ideas, painting pictures and projecting films inside your head. For example, make up an example yourself.
The World Wide Web (soon available in paperback) is a home movie of ideas, a more efficient way for mankind to read its own mind. The search engine is the ultimate idea pull-cart, the killer app of conceptual art. The Museum of Conceptual Art hereby incorporates the entire Web by reference, along with whatever you're thinking right now.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART
By the presentation at Documenta XI of its Humanist Space, Meschac Gaba's Museum of Contemporary African Art has reached its final stage. The inaguration of this ambitious museum took place in 1997 at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, where its first room, the Salle Esquisse or Draft Room, was presented to the public. Visitors could then support this museum by buying a round piece of african banknote mounted on a safety pin. The peculiar works of art show in this first room, were scattered through a few spaces of the academy, where the artist, who left his country Benin two years before, just finished his art study. The works vary from paintings (three pieces of plywood covered with plaster, each painted with one of the colors that are most commonly applied in african flags; its surface is so heftily slashed that the white plaster and even the plywood are exposed), ceramics of chicken wings, a couple of puzzle tables (on each of which a national flag of an afriacan country, painted on plywood and cut into quare pieces, inviting the visitor to adjust them into the proper constitution) to gilded stones, chicken feet and bread, and, above all, pieces of money. By its diversity of manifestation, already visible in it first appearence at the Draft Room, also the variety of the content of this unusual project is anounced. Value and revaluation, the art market, the absence of museums of contemporary art in Africa, the involvement of the visitor, are among many of subjects that Meschac Gaba is dealing with in this project.
Already by the first draft of the museum the artist had decided about the number of rooms this nomadic museum would ultimately contain: twelve. But he could not have anticipated that that its final "room" would be presented in the best possible setting supporting its main purpose: the international recognition that Africa is not a "dark continent any more in matters of contemporary art, and that contemporary african art has reached a point far beyong the western cliché's that regard it still as spiritual, etnographical and ritual artefacts. What strucks me most is the ease and naturalness of the artistic language that Gaba always knows to find to express the subject matters of his choice, be it fashion (Summer Collection), food, or was it about socializing? (Museum Restaurant), architecture (The Architecture of the Museum), religion (Art and Religion), music (Music Room) or play (Game Room). All these individual rooms of the museum, by now in so many countries in the western world, and noy only there, have a most natural appearance, but are also always full of surprise. Perhaps this exceptional casualness is due to the fact that art and life is mostly interwied here, culminating in the Mariage Room at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, where the artist and Alexandra van Dongen were joined in matremony. The element of surprise may be found in the diversity itself and non-stereotype african accents of the unmistakably contemporary artistc tongue. The artist as an enterpreneur, the artist as a cook, the artist as a musician, the artist as a nomad, the museum without walls, this and other actual issues in the art of our days, each of which usually the field of activity of a singular artist, are put togheter by Gaba himself and in his own peculiar way in his museum space.
Gaba's museum is not only meant for the western art scene but even more so for his african colleagues: Meschac Gaba: "I believe that, above all, a museum is a place of study, of research...My museum of contemporary African art has no walls. I want to show artists that you can show work everywhere, you can do it on your own. You don't need four walls to determine your place, to decide who you are. Have the courage to decide for yourself who you are!"
For more information see: Meschac Gaba, Library of the Museum/Vol I/ Bibliothèque du Musèe, Artimo Foundation, Amsterdam 2001, ISBN 90-75380-20-8
MUSEO AERO SOLAR
Museo aero solar is a flying museum, a solar balloon completely made up of reused plastic bags, with new sections being added each time it travels the world, thus changing techniques, drawings and shapes, and growing in size every time it sets sail in the air. Museo aero solar stands for a different conception of space and energy, both anomalous and forceful at the same time. The core of the museo resides in the inventiveness of local inhabitants, not in its image: among collective action and art, do-it-together technology and experiment, it is a voyage back/forward in time.
museo aero solar has already travelled to Sharjah (United Arabs Emirates), Isola neighborhood in Milano (Italy), Medellin (Colombia), Lyon (France), Rapperswil (Switzerland), Tirana (Albania), Ein Hawd (first recognized arab village in Israel), Minneapolis (U.S.A.), Bonames/Kalbach old airport(Germany), Carmignano/Montemurlo (Italy) and Arnsberg (Germany).
MER . PAPER KUSTHALLE
The MER. foundation was founded to examine the possibilities and position of the book medium as a place to exhibit art. The art book, since its beginnings, has traditionally been developed as a catalogue or an aide-mémoire, and seldom has been considered as a space to exhibit living art. However, artists from Dada to the appearance of the artist’s book have always thought of books as exhibiting spaces. MER. will be involved with providing this kind of activity through an institutional platform. MER. calls itself a Paper Kunsthalle, and plans to initiate, develop and support art exhibiting within the book medium.
INTUITIVE GALLERY LÉGITIME
François Curlet proposes a gallery within the gallery and uses the Galerie Légitime by Robert Filliou in which works of art by different artists are covered by a Plexiglas hat.
In the exhibition two posters are also shown: one published in 1968 by Mayer Editions for the exhibition of Robert Filliou that showed 6 versions in different colors of the Galerie Légitime. The second poster is by M/M (Paris) and is part of François Curlet’s Galerie Intuitive.
François Curlet is interested in Filliou’s principle of liberty, who wanted his Galerie Légitime to be a functioning gallery in which he could show his own personal work.
François Curlet decided to replay this principle by creating an Intuitive Gallery Légitime.
The choice of the plaster brain by Katarina Fritsch is a play on Robert Filliou’s idea of wearing a hat that contains works of art on your head and brain where after all, everything is anyway.
This stamp I used, I think was in 1961. At the time I had the idea to have a gallery, to open my own gallery. I opened a gallery called Galerie Légitime in my cap. I had a stamp made, that said Galerie Légitime couvre chef d'oeuvre. It's something in French that has a double meaning, this sentence, couvre chef d'oeuvre.
It means two things: it covers up a masterpiece, that is it covers up the head, it covers up the brain, (it's all in the brain anyway). It means also, covering up works, couvre chef - hat, over works - couvre chef d'oeuvre.
So in my cap, the same as the one I'm wearing now, inside my cap, on top of my head, I had small works of mine. At that time I used to make things, where I measured up things, or I mummified them.
Then in the streets of Paris, I would walk through the streets and I would come up to somebody walking in the street, and a typical dialogue might be, "Are you interested in art, monsieur, or madame, or mademoiselle?" and if they said, "Yes, yes,” I would say: "Well do you know I have a gallery?" If they express some interest, I would say "Here it is".
There inside my hat were the works. They were a little bit bigger than this grape, you see, or this stamp. And then we would look at the works. — Robert Filliou
EGO ART CENTRE
Ego Art Centre, 1994 ? 2010. Exhibition space installed in a white chest of drawers, 270 x 77 x 46 cm. Its original purpose was changed when it was designated a Museum by Pelayo Varela, Carmen Cantón was the museum director, in charge of the curatorship of the first exhibition in 1995. The guiding principles of this centre consisted of flexibility, lightness, travelling and experimentation. Unlike more conventional museum models Ego opted for multiplicity and portability, inhabiting a private space (the personal is political) and, finally, becoming a commodity. Its travels have taken it to the Venice Biennale, the Küppersmühle Sammlung Grothe Museum in Duisburg, Germany, Museum of Contemporany Centre Sofia, Venezuela, and other locations in Latin America ?Mexico D.F., Oaxaca, Argentina, Santo Domingo, Paraguay, Peru?. The interventions on the centre, based on dialogue among the various agents, are documented in the art magazine The Route of the Senses.
MUSEUM FOR SALE
The Ego Art Centre makes another appearance. This time it is a portable museum that has stopped being a piece of furniture, or even dismountable furniture, ego is a box now. It is almost like a board game that requires us to rethink our cultural situation and any preconceived ideas we might have about museums and art centres. At the same time Ego is a work of art. Designed like a collection of Russian dolls, the Ego Art Centre is an artefact that exhibits its status of consumer good inserted in the market place. Ego is a commodity. It is an artwork which is also an artistic institution, a museum that inhabits other museums. Created in a domestic setting, Ego decided to pursue other realities, initially these were domestic too, but then it began to penetrate the institution and work from within. We can either question the system from the margins or we can form part of it and act as agents of renewal. Ego is part of the institution while being an institution in itself. Ego is information and knowledge. A society exists in which communications and the exchange of content have accelerated, becoming the mainstay of the social, cultural and economic network. This Art Centre works a veritable network. Ego has travelled from its portable status but it does not just pass through destinations in a fleeting and momentary way, it sets itself up there, generating a network of cultural agents that question the institution of the museum and work from the inside. Directors of an imaginary museum that is real, with its own programme, activities? Ego continues to expand. Museum for sale is a series of 77 original, signed and numbered pieces, which seek to form part of museum collections all over the world. But its place is not inert and inanimate. Ego represents a commitment to this portable institution. Just as the institution creates exhibitions and activities for its museum, it needs to outline its approach to programming for the Art Centre. Ego is a museum project within another project. It is a bid to incorporate Ego within the operations of the Museum that acquires it, mindful of the identity of this new museum. As a commodity Ego plays at being an enterprise, a globalised network of cultural agents. Directors of a centre, wearing their own uniform, working in a big multinational. Ego is like Russian roulette, a weapon in a child?s hands, ammunition to fuel the desire for other realities, for new museums, always new. Ego is a journey through our inner beings in order to serve others. Ego is manifold and changing, a free version of our world, subject to its own rules. A cultural contradiction, an anomaly that finds a solution in constant questioning. A forgotten answer in the flow of questions it generates. Ego is a lost I in the folds of egotism that seeks to be shared. A poetics of the world written by many voices. Ego is as old as obsession, which is its driving force, as it constantly strives to be something new, a new happening. Text: Eduardo García Nieto.
THE ROUTE OF THE SENSES
The Route of the Senses, 1994 ? 2010. Art magazine issued annually, it publishes and documents the actions performed for the Ego Art Centre. The magazine, presented in box form, comprises a publication on paper and objects, which all bespeak a specific theme. Following the principles of exchange and dialogue, contributors to the magazine produce unpublished work offering a multi-faceted vision of one aspect; a small portable exhibition. It has dedicated monographs to subjects as diverse as travel, sings of identity, sex, more sex, arquiectures, fear o how do I see the world inrelation to myself? Each of these themes is approached by artists, curators, architects, critics, designers, museum directors ?. with a view to establishing a democratised dialogue about the obsessions that absorb The Route of the Senses.
Creating Forests, 1999 ? 2010. Artistic action which seeks to create a great global forest to unite the existing ones through the sponsorship of trees. From its inception, this video installation, like a greenhouse, invited visitors to fill in a tree sponsorship form, representing a move from a natural environment to an urban one, a confusion of seemingly conflicting realities. Following this original idea, Creating Forests has now become a major global action which, via networking and the power of association, seeks to set guidelines for dialogue and action. Individual commitment seen as a political form or political echo. Another guiding principle is working with an economy of resources, transforming the process into a mesh of burgeoning relations or ties, based on the technological principles of networking, transmission and sustainable growth. This action, which consists of compiling the sponsorship applications, managing the action ?which involves working with institutions and other groups- and planting, returns to an objectual format by becoming a topographic map that enables sponsors to visit their trees if they wish to. To date actions have been performed in Asturias, Galicia, Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico?
CARMEN CANTÓN GALLERY
Carmen Cantón Gallery, 2000 - 2010. Art gallery dedicated to the display and sale of work by art curators. From its inception it has performed a search and research into the creative flow of art professionals engaged in curatorial work. This approach to the different ways of conceiving and producing an artwork facilitates, on the one hand, a re-reading and questioning of the power mechanics in the world of art and, on the other, a move away from the processes traditionally associated with curatorship, thus changing points of view and the operating mechanism. The Carmen Cantón Gallery is presently a desk and a filing cabinet for projects. Its activities consists of organising a collective exhibition of the work of the gallery artists, including the work itself but especially the documentation of the artistic processes. The Carmen Cantón Gallery, like the other projects, is a work of art that departs from dialogue, exchange and the capacity to bring about situations.
Marcel Broodthaers, Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, Section Financière (Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles, Financial Section), 1970-1971, gold bar stamped with an eagle. Courtesy Galerie Beaumont, Luxembourg. Photo: J. Romero, courtesy Maria Gilissen
Marcel Broodthaers's Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles was a conceptual museum created in Brussels in 1968. It had neither permanent collection nor permanent location, and manifested itself in "sections" appearing at various locations between 1968 and 1971. These sections typically consisted of reproductions of works of art, fine-art crates, wall inscriptions, and film elements. In 1970, Broodthaers conceived of the Financial Section, which encompassed an attempt to sell the museum "on account of bankruptcy." The sale was announced on the cover of the Cologne Art Fair catalogue in 1971, but no buyers were found. As part of the Financial Section, Broodthaers also produced an unlimited edition of gold ingots stamped with the museum's emblem, an eagle, a symbol associated with power and victory. The ingots were sold to raise money for the museum, at a price calculated by doubling the market value of gold, the surcharge representing the bar's value as art. Broodthaers's museum represents a pioneering effort to dispute traditional museum practices by appropriating and altering them.
EVERYTHING IS MUSEUM (EIM)
"This museum has everything that other museums have—a space, a curator, light, audience—but it does not have all the baggage that comes with new museums, such as insurance, climate controls, electricity, security guards, etc., so I faced a challenge similar to when the primitive cavemen first painted on the wall."
In the early 1990s Cai began what are called “social projects,” which strive to integrate contemporary art into the everyday life of communities and cities. Assuming the role of cultural activist, Cai began collaborating at nonart sites, creating opportunities for dialogue and participation.
This thinking has been extended to consider the nature of museums and their possibilities. To this end Cai founded his own museum franchise dubbed Everything Is Museum. Inspired by artist Joseph Beuys’ philosophy that anyone can be an artist, Cai shifted that idea to propose that any place can be a museum and took on the role of curator, a specialist with a critical eye who selects a series of artworks and decides how they will be displayed. To date the Everything Is Museum series includes six interventions into unusual, abandoned sites such as pottery kilns, old bridges, and military bunkers. Collaborating with government officials, artisans, volunteers, and contemporary artists, Cai uses extraordinary leadership to realize these complex large-scale projects. Responding to the conditions of each new location for a project, he carefully considers its history and culture with the sensibility of an archaeologist or historian.
The BMoCA (Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art) was established on Kinmen Island, which for five decades was primarily a military garrison protecting Taiwan from Mainland China and where thousands of soldiers and civilians lost their lives during attacks by communist Chinese forces. This island held special meaning for Cai because he grew up in Mainland China in Quanzhou, a port city just across the Taiwan Strait, and remembered from his childhood the noise of bombers flying to and back from Taiwan and the explosive sounds of artillery. He dreamed of converting Kinmen’s network of vacant military bunkers into sites for art and creativity. For the inaugural BMoCA exhibition Cai invited 18 artists from China, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora to create site-specific works to transform Kinmen into a place for experimental artistic and community programs, including exhibitions by local schoolchildren.
Cai Guo-Qiang, Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA)
Kinmen Island, Taiwan
In 2009 Cai plans to open QMoCA (Quanzhou Museum of Contemporary Art) in his hometown. This new structure will be designed by Norman Foster’s architectural firm, Foster + Partners, and function as a community-based museum and performance center. An exhibition documenting the Everything Is Museum series is on view in the Guggenheim Museum’s Sackler Center for Arts Education, where visitors are invited to create and display their own ideas for unique museum sites.
EVERYTHING IS MUSEUM IS A SERIESOF ART MUSEUMS ESTABLISHED WORLDWIDE BY ARTIST CAI GUO-QIANG.
Posing an open challenge to current, international museum standards, these museums aim to produce meaningful artwork under relatively limited and often minimal conditions.
Cai Guo-Qiang, DMoCA (Dragon Museum of Contemporary Art): Everything Is Museum No. 1
DMoCA, Tsunan Mountain Park, Niigata, Japan
Cai Guo-Qiang, Under Museum of Contemporary Art (UMoCA)
The series began in 2000 with the founding of the outdoor Dragon Museum of Contemporary Art (DMoCA) in Tsunan Mountain Park in Japan. Other museums in the series have been established at unconventional sites such as former military bunkers (BMoCA) and under bridges (UMoCA). Exhibitions are ongoing and rotating, with Cai Guo-Qiang acting as curator.
MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING
The Museum of Everything is London's first and only public space for the display of art which has been created by artists living outside the boundaries of mainstream society.
Beautiful and challenging, delicate and democratic, this is the secret art, which has inspired generations of artists - from Dubuffet to Basquiat. In this groundbreaking exhibition, the museum has invited leading artists, curators and cultural figures to explore the continuing connection between this genre and contemporary practice.
These include: Annette Messager, Eva Rothschild, Tal R, Jamie Shovlin, Bob & Roberta Smith, Richard Wentworth, Idris Khan, Arnulf Rainer, Ed Ruscha, Jockum Nordstrom, Klara Kristalova, Karin Mamma Andersson, Mark Titchner, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave and Anthony Hegarty, amongst others.
These selectors have chosen artists from this genre that have influenced their own work - for example, the spirit drawings of London-born medium Madge Gill, the recycled ceramic kingdom of Indian road worker Nek Chand and the panoramic fairytale illustrations of the renowned Chicago recluse, Henry Darger.
From janitors to jailbirds, mediums to miners, The Museum of Everything features over 200 drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations presented within a former dairy and recording studio in Primrose Hill, a step away from Regents Park and the Frieze Art Fair.
The Museum of Everything formally opens its doors on 14 October 2009 with a gala event on the preceding evening. As an affiliate of the Frieze VIP programme, the venue will also present the premiere of the documentary 'Make' by filmmaker Scott Ogden and a special screening of 'Journeys into the Outside' with Jarvis Cocker.
James Brett, creator of the Museum, says: "For these artists there are no studios, no press junkets, no art fairs, no magazine spread. Instead there are treasure troves of untrained work, discovered under rocks, in basements and attics, its creators often unaware that their art would ever see the light of day."
The Museum of Everything is located on the corner of Regents Park Road and Sharpleshall Street in Primrose Hill, London NW1. The museum opens on 13 October 2009 with a gala opening. There will be events, talks and late night openings throughout Frieze Week, 15 - 18 October 2009.
Opening hours are all day on weekends and during Frieze, with variable hours on weekdays. Please see the website for details: www.musevery.com
THE ADOBE MUSEUM OF DIGITAL MEDIA (AMDM)
The Adobe Museum of Digital Media (AMDM) is a unique virtual space designed to showcase and preserve groundbreaking digital work and to present expert commentary on how digital media influences culture and society.
The museum is an ever-changing repository of eclectic exhibits from diverse fields ranging from photography to product development to broadcast communications. To inspire fresh conversation on the constantly evolving digital landscape, exhibits are overseen by guest curators, each of whom is a recognized leader in the field of art, technology, or business.
The AMDM is a space unlike any created before. Because it is entirely digital, it is an ideal gallery for displaying and viewing digital media, as well as revealing the innovation and artistry within the work. It is open to the public 365 days a year and is accessible from anywhere in the world.
About the structure
The building itself was designed by Italian architect Filippo Innocenti, a master of fluid urban designs for large, public installations. Innocenti collaborated closely with award-winning designer Piero Frescobaldi, who served as the "building contractor" for construction of the virtual space. Adobe is proud to serve as patron on the project.
The inaugural exhibit
The museum's first exhibit features work by Tony Oursler, a New York artist whose explorations in moving images and digital communications have been featured in museums on both U.S. coasts, as well as in Spain and New Zealand.
The exhibit was curated by Tom Eccles, executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Eccles was formerly director of the Public Art Fund in New York City, where he curated more than 100 exhibitions and organized outdoor projects in collaboration with numerous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the New Museum.
Visit the AMDM
Become a member when you visit the AMDM and enjoy special interviews with curators and artists, advance viewings of exhibits, access to seminars, and exclusive events.
Free admission (all visitors, all hours).
Facility is not open to the public.
Created in 1975 to compensate for a persistent segregation of the art world along racial lines, the museum has presented exhibitions on pressing issues---homelessness, media hype, the environment and ethnic- and gender-based stereotyping---that explore the definitions and boundaries of art. Today the museum exists soley online. Prior shows at the physical museum featured the early work of many of today's foremost artists, among them Andres Serrano, David Hammonds and Nancy Spero.
Durante la Revolución, entre los múltiples problemas que el General Francisco Villa enfrentó a lo largo del territorio que recién había liberado, destacaba el de la escasez de dinero. Sus consejeros políticos se hallaban inquietos ante las posibles consecuencias que la carencia de liquidez supondría para el buen curso de la Revolución. El general Villa –gran estratega militar– resolvió el dilema con una simple maniobra: ordenó la fabricación de más dinero.¿Por qué esperar o buscar al museo, si se puede empezar uno propio? Para crear una zona autónoma, un posible espacio de poder y resistencia, lo único que se necesita es una idea.
Y así, en marzo de 1996, inauguré el Museo Salinas. Coloqué mi colección de objetos callejeros sobre Salinas en el baño de mi casa, puse un letrero en la puerta y me mandé hacer una tarjeta de presentación con la leyenda: “Vicente Razo, Director Museo Salinas”. Fue todo cuanto hizo falta para fundar un espacio autónomo.
Entonces descubrí que la respuesta a la palabra “museo” es muy parecida a aquélla de los famosos perros de Pavlov: provoca en la bestia artística una réplica condicionada, constante y fluida; una secreción intelectual usada y abusada –a manera de encantamiento– que levanta un pedestal invisible a lo que muestra gracias al artificio y poder de la palabra “museo”. El simple acto de bautizar a mi baño como museo produjo efectos mágicos: desde artistas –pasando por amas de casa y burócratas– hasta periodistas de todas nacionalidades transitaron por mi museo-baño.
Cuando fundé el Museo Salinas, tenía en mente la importancia y el rol que la institución-museo juega en la psique social. El museo puede ser visto, psicológicamente, como un filtro que regula y selecciona qué objetos o documentos de la historia migran hacia el lado consciente o articulado de la sociedad, y cuáles permanecen olvidados o despreciados, destinados a subsistir como despojos en el lado inconsciente o marginal de una sociedad.
A partir de estas reflexiones y considerando el entumecido estado de los museos mexicanos –inmersos en una agenda colonizada y elitista, con un cuerpo burocrático atrofiado y temerosos de todo fragmento de realidad que tengan que afrontar– decidí que sería un acto saludable y necesario otorgarles el espacio de un Museo a estos singulares testimonios de la historia contemporánea de México: activar estos objetos.
Mi intención principal fue registrar y atesorar un punto clave en la práctica artística nacional: preservar estas radicales obras –de belleza extrema y de existencia efímera y callejera– que, de no haber sido recolectadas, habrían sido olvidadas, destinadas al menosprecio del poder.
El Museo Salinas y su difusión funcionaron –y lo continúan haciendo a manera de mito– como una trinchera de resistencia para un ejército de bagatelas cabales y efectivas en la intriga pública y política.
Termino parafraseando a Diego Rivera cuando escribió sobre Posada: “seguramente, ningún presidente ha tenido tan mala suerte, por haber tenido como relator y justiciero de sus modos, acciones y andanzas, a los incomparables creadores de estos objetos.”
Claes Oldenburg, Mouse Museum, 1965-77.
Enclosed structure of wood, corrugated aluminum, and plexiglass display cases containing 385 objects, 10' x 31' 6" x 33' (304 x 960 x 1030 cm). Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna. Photo: Heinz Blezen, courtesy Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
Claes Oldenburg's Mouse Museum appropriates methods of museum display and, with wry humor typical of his work, comments on the obsessiveness of collecting and on the pervasiveness of consumer culture. The architectural shape of Oldenburg's freestanding museum is borrowed from the contour of Mickey Mouse. Thus a cartoon becomes the setting for the display of nearly four hundred found objects, popular knickknacks, and byproducts of the artmaking process.
Herbert Distel, Museum of Drawers, 1970-77.
Chest of drawers containing miniature works by various artists,
overall (approx.) 72 x 28 9/16 x 28 9/16" (183 x 42 x 42 cm).
Kunsthaus Zürich. Donation of Herbert Distel and The Foundation Julius Bÿr. Photo: ©1999, Kunsthaus Zôrich. All rights reserved.
Herbert Distel adopted the role of the museum curator when he invited artists from around the world to contribute miniature works for display in the tiny "galleries" of his Museum of Drawers. The drawers in this found cabinet are filled with five hundred works by a wide range of artists, some well known, like Picasso, others obscure, creating a comprehensive survey of artistic currents in the 1960s and 1970s. According to Distel, "Museums, especially museums of fine art, are places where we become conscious of time. Like a preserving jar, they have the task of conserving and presenting a subject curdled with time--the artwork. But through and behind these works the artists appear, falling out of the screen of time, as it were, and become immortal."
The Museum of Drawers (MOD)
Museums, especially museums of fine art, are places where we become conscious of time. Like a preserving jar, they all have the task of conserving and presenting a subject curdled with time – the artwork. But through and behind these works the artists appear, falling out of the screen of time, as it were, and become immortal.
The Museum of Drawers is almost exclusively filled with art of the 1960s and 1970s, represented by the five hundred pieces installed within it, giving a comprehensive survey of a period of art whose currents were more numerous than ever before: the last two decades of modern time, immediately before the paradigm change to socalled postmodern time, in which there are no more currents to find at all. But there are also some works of the classical avant-garde; they form the background for all the currents that complete one hundred years of modern art and oscillate between artists like Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.
The museum as muse - to be kissed by the muse of the Museum of Drawers -, this was my hope when I invited each of the five hundred artists to realize a work for the tiny rooms (1 11/16“ x 2 1/4“ x 1 7/8“). My dream has become reality.
Herbert Distel, July 1998
(Text for the catalogue of the show THE MUSEUM AS MUSE: Artists Reflect 1999 at the Museum of Modern Art New York, where the MOD has been exhibited)
JEMA - JOHN ERICKSON MUSEUM OF ART
JEMA is a six-year old museum. It celebrated its Grand Opening on July 25th, 2003 at 2:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum. The opening lasted two minutes. As a location variable museum, JEMA regularly works with artists to realize projects that require mobility, multi-destinational site-specificity, and/or seek to defy or question the traditional space of the contemporary art museum or the mechanisms of contemporary art practice. JEMA’s portable quality offers artists an exhibition space that encourages radical experimentation with a low financial overhead. Many art museums function with power and strength but remain bogged down by red tape and expensive exhibitions. By moving with stealth and agility, JEMA offers a vital, yet affordable, museum space and supports the quick, decisive, and efficient delivery of art to the viewing public. JEMA’s design allows for a greater focus on exhibition planning and a stronger communication between the institution, exhibiting artists, and you (the viewing public). JEMA’s galleries are housed in a series of sturdy but stylish 16"x12"x9" aluminum carrying cases. JEMA brings the art to you! Think JEMA…more or less.
THE GREATEST LITTLE GALLERY ON EARTH
Until recently, the Wrong Gallery was just an expensive-looking doorway in New York. Today it opens in its new home: Tate Modern. By Christopher Turner
The Guardian, Wednesday 21 December 2005
If you ever visited the Wrong Gallery in New York, you might have been greeted by a blunt notice: "Fuck Off We're Closed". As it happens, the gallery, which launched in 2002 as the smallest exhibition space in New York, never actually opened. It was nothing more than an expensive-looking glass door, identical to those of the Chelsea white cubes it satirised. Viewers would peer through it into a meagre two and a half square feet of floor space, where in the course of its three-year existence the Wrong Gallery exhibited the work of 40 internationally acclaimed artists. Few passers-by would have guessed that the "Closed" sign - a piece by British artist Adam McEwen - was itself the work on view.
The Wrong Gallery's founders were Italian art-world jester Maurizio Cattelan (most famous in Britain for his controversial mannequin of the Pope crushed by a meteorite) and two editors turned curators, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick; they jokingly referred to the sliver of a gallery as "the back door to contemporary art" - one that's "always locked". It was entirely non-commercial, literally only accessible to window shoppers. The name came about because, as Cattelan now explains: "We loved the idea of people saying: 'It's a great show, but it's in the wrong gallery.' "
In July, the Wrong Gallery was evicted from its doorway. This week a full-scale mock-up will appear, Tardis-like, on the third floor of Tate Modern, where the Wrong Gallery has been granted temporary asylum.
It remains to be seen how the Wrong Gallery's signature pranks will be adapted to the canonical collection of the Tate. Most of the interventions it has staged have played in some way on the idea that there might be more - or less - to the gallery than met the eye. The Polish artist Pawel Althamer hired two Polish illegal immigrants to smash in the door with a baseball bat every Saturday - "I think we had to change four or five doors in total," Cattelan recalls, "a good way to keep the window cleaned!" Jamie Isenstein displayed a "will return by" sign that was motorised so that its clock always pointed a quarter of an hour into the future. Andreas Slominski kidnapped the door and took it to a dinner party in Hamburg, where he held it hostage for two weeks. At a recent show in London's East End, a photocopy was displayed reading "Lost. Have you seen this door?" accompanied by a grainy picture of the Wrong Gallery and a telephone number.
Cattelan, Subotnick and Gioni have free rein over what they can show in their Tate Modern toe-hold. "We'll have to adjust to a different environment," Cattelan says of the transfer to the Tate, "gather new energies from our neighbours and at the same time work against them, try and look different from them." He drily suggests that they might start selling works, or subletting their space to commercial galleries. When they originally leased their doorway in New York's Chelsea district, it was on the condition that they exhibit the work of the landlord's wife. The curators made no effort to mask the nepotism: "Once a year we had the Landlord's Wife's Show," Cattelan tells me. "I hope we don't have to do anything like that at the Tate!" Their first exhibit there is the Orgasm Box, a video installation by 72-year-old artist Dorothy Iannone, which shows her younger self masturbating. But whatever it shows, one thing is sure: the subversive gallery has itself become a work of art.
It has also, despite itself, become a kind of institution. It even publishes a yearly newspaper, the Wrong Times. The gallery has been given its own space at the upcoming Whitney Biennial in New York (its exhibit has already proclaimed its independence by having different opening and closing dates to the rest of the show), and the directorial trio has been invited to curate next year's Berlin Biennale. They immediately started a fake Berlin Gagosian gallery (a cheap knock-off of the New York, London and Los Angeles versions, housed in a shabby former plumbers' merchants), hijacking the actual gallery's logo and stationery to create a bootleg or "guerrilla franchise". They describe it as a "stepsister" to the Wrong Gallery - Cattelan jokes that "our dream is at one point that Larry Gagosian buys the Berlin branch".
When I visit the building in New York that once housed the Wrong Gallery the shutters are up; there are no clues to the doorway's former use. There is a Jehovah's Witness hall next door and a waiter is arranging a table of fluted glasses in a gallery on the other side of the street. A block away, Andrew Kreps, the gallerist whose basement doorway the Wrong Gallery occupied and who was evicted from the building at the same time, is shivering in his new temporary space. He has a pair of longjohns wrapped around his neck and a magnum of champagne cooling on the desk beside him.
"We still get their mail," he says, laughing. "They had the same address as we did." (the Wrong Gallery simply added a ½ to Kreps's 516A, and were amused to get numerous job applications for gallery assistants and guards.) "Basically," Kreps says, "they were a parasite." Later, Cattelan tells me: "We used his pens, pencils, hammers, nails, screws, drills, ladders, mailboxes, answering machines. We would sit in the office and have coffee when it was winter and we were installing in the street." He drilled a hole through the wall that divided the two galleries and connected the Wrong Gallery's lights to Kreps's. "They'll be a parasite on Tate Modern too," Kreps says, with mock seriousness. "They need hosts, and then they infect them."
Despite being a parasite, the Wrong Gallery soon had a greater share of the building's facade than the Andrew Kreps Gallery, though the facade was, of course, all they had. They expanded into another doorway of the building a couple of years ago, and flipped the font on their new glass door so that it looked like a mirror version of the original. "We thought that one day," Cattelan says, "we would get to have as much real estate as Gagosian, only split up into very, very small lots."
Some "lots" have been, frankly, infinitesimal. There is a mousehole-sized replica of the Wrong Gallery in a Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, and collectors can now buy an 18in-high scale model of the doorway for just under £700, which includes miniatures of all the artworks ever shown there (a homage to Marcel Duchamp's famous museum in a suitcase). "The idea is that anyone can play at being a dealer at home," Cattelan says. "It is a sign of the times. In the 1960s every man could have become an artist; now everyone wants to make money."
As I put heel to toe to measure the small recess that was once the gallery, I notice that someone has used the narrow niche to take a dump ("In Italy it's good luck to step in shit," Gioni later reassures me). Perhaps it was left there by an art lover, and intended as an homage to the Wrong Gallery's litany of scatological shows. Paul McCarthy's Santa Butt Plug was decorated with excrement, and Noritoshi Hirakawa manipulated a volunteer's diet to produce the perfect odourless turd. Says Cattelan of my find: "One man's trash is another man's treasure"
· The Wrong Gallery opens today at Tate Modern, London SE1. Details: 020-7887 8888.
ANTI-MUSEO Y PÚBLICO NÓMADA: EL CENTRO PORTÁTIL DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO
Centro Portátil de Arte Contemporáneo.
DVD, 44'39'' (2008-2010)
Fecha: 9 de marzo
Lugar: Edificio Nouvel, Centro de Estudios.
Hora: 20:00 h
Entrada: Gratuita, hasta completar aforo.
Tipo de actividad: Conversaciones. Las políticas culturales
La continua fundación de centros y museos de arte contemporáneo en años recientes ha generado una densidad institucional planteada como eco de un modelo cultural homogéneo. Detrás de la estabilidad y permanencia de esta institución, se manifiesta el predominio de elementos como el edificio, la representación política y la reordenación urbana, al tiempo que destacan las carencias en plantear relaciones con la comunidad, el público en toda su extensión o las posibilidades del arte como elemento de cambio y toma de conciencia.
El Antimuseo es un proyecto constituido en este vacío, una institución horizontal, difusa y sin contenedor, surgida de la transformación de un espacio independiente de Madrid, el Ojo Atómico (1993-2007), en una idea de participación y exposición de tensiones públicas. En palabras de sus fundadores, Tomás Ruiz-Rivas, y María María Acha, el trabajo del Antimuseo no consiste en enseñar productos artísticos a una audiencia, sino en restablecer relaciones sociales que conviertan esa audiencia en un (contra)público, en una comunidad cultural y políticamente activa.
Una de las iniciativas del Antimuseo es el CPAC (el Centro Portátil de Arte Contemporáneo), un dispositivo móvil itinerante, activado por artistas y colectivos tras un proceso de debate y estudio específico de cada caso, que transita zonas de conflicto, marginalidad y exclusión social, exponiendo y activando en su precariedad algunos de los temas que, paradójicamente, genera la persistente fundación del museo como edificio, desde la gentrificación hasta la desaparición de la memoria de la ciudad.
Esta presentación inaugura el ciclo Conversaciones, un nuevo programa en el que el Museo Reina Sofía invita y acoge propuestas de debate de diferentes agentes culturales, cuestionando el rol de la institución museística como enunciador cultural privilegiado, reconociendo así la discusión en campos diversos, desde las políticas culturales hasta la producción artística.
María María Acha. Artista y co-directora del Ojo Atómico - Antimuseo de Arte Contemporaneo.
Tomás Ruiz-Rivas. Artista, comisario y co-director del Ojo Atómico - Antimuseo de Arte Contemporáneo.
Marcelo Expósito. Artista, investigador y profesor del Programa de Estudios Independientes del MACBA.