July 20, 2011

Strange museums

I am a big fan of museums (my absolute favourite one is the Getty museum in L.A. It is huge and sprawling, very Californian, very white, pristine, open, beautiful) I think there's a sanctity about art in museums, an almost religion about viewing art on white, clean walls where the only sounds you hear are the shuffling of feet and small whispers. So when I read about the Museum of Non-Visible Art, conceptualised by Praxis and [actor] James Franco, it was like a bucket of cold water was thrown on my museum-loving self.

For pledging over $20 on Kickstarter, you will receive an imaginary piece of art.
For pledging $10,000 to this duo, you will receive:
"Fresh Air -This is a unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountain tops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply. Naming Rights- You get an entire wing of the museum named in your honor for this purchase. The owner of this artwork will receive a title card with a description of the piece to be mounted on your wall, and used when explaining the work."

It is sold out. And over 97 backers have pledged over $13,000 to this imagined museum with imagined art. Here is space for your mouth to fall open:

I haven't decided what I feel about this yet.

The word "museum"- how is it to be defined? Doesn't a museum need an actual space? [Dare I say this,] actual art? The Museum of Broken Relationships toured Singapore as part of the M1 Fringe Festival in 2007, and I remember viewing it in Jendela, the Esplanade arts space, and being a little confused.

Bras, handcuffs, MP3 players- beyond the question of whether ordinary objects can be art, there's also the question of whether objects can emote, can looking at a collection of bras remind you of heartbreak. And not even of your own heartbreak, but of someone else's, someone else's bra that holds their special memories. Do memories live in objects independent of their owner? I remember looking at the objects and thinking, no not really. They seem like a collection of things, and my mind is imagining the stories that might accompany them, I am making up lives and situations- how is this different from a novel?

The Museum of Craft and Design doesn't even have a physical space anymore, but they now have pop-up museum spaces around the city

These are images of their latest proxy museum in Hayes Valley (cross: Octavia) in San Francisco, and they invite audiences to "make this space a place."

There was a line in the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 where Dumbledore says, "of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it's not real?" This was the line that struck me the most when I read about MONA, then remembering my experience with the Museum of Broken Relationships, and thinking about how spaces on their own should not have the emotional ties that they do. About how places, even museums, are just spaces, and we're filling it only with what we know and what we bring to it.

Last night I had dinner and ice cream til late with Nat and Kelvin, and in the clutter of the day and the fluorescence of the Prata House light, they reminded me that I am home, now/ that they are part of my home, they are part of my place.

Images from the Etsy blog, a random news site, the Museum of Craft and Design website.

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