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History Science

Intrusive Clowns, Preserved Cats, and Centuries-Old Hair: Museums Are Sharing Their Creepiest Objects

April 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Top left via GR Public Museum, bottom left via Yorkshire Museum, right via Bell Museum

If you’re not into clowns, taxidermied creatures, or centuries-old piles of hair, you probably should avoid the #CreepiestObject hashtag on Twitter. In recent days, museums worldwide have been digging into their nightmare-inducing archives to uncover the most disturbing pieces their collections have to offer. Findings include a preserved mermaid-like animal, a cross-section of a pregnant cat, and a children’s toy that’s rumored to move on its own.

Similar to the virtual bouquets and the challenge to recreate famous artworks, the movement is one of the ways shuttered museums are engaging with—and now terrifying—their quarantined audiences. We’ve gathered some of their picks below, but please consider this your warning before you scroll down or dive deeper into the hashtag. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 

“STEP ASIDE ALL. These are hand-made models of figures playing cards and of gold miners hauling gold nuggets to the surface. BUT the figures are made from crab’s legs and claws… Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff. #CreepiestObject” —York Castle Museum

 

 

 

“Bringin’ our A-game for this #CURATORBATTLE! What is it? Just a CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old mansion. We call it ‘Wheelie’ – and it MOVES ON ITS OWN: Staff put it in one place and find it in another spot later on…. #Creepiestobject” —PEI Museum

 

 

“Imagine rummaging through an archive and unwrapping this Down pointing backhand index MC 490A: Broken Dolls head in many parts with fair hair c.1920 Found on the grounds of @StJudesHead . Let’s hope they treat the pupils better Face with tears of joy #CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject” —Egham Museum

 

 

 



Art

A Tiny Lizard Attends Miniature Gallery Opening to See 'American Gecko' and 'The Birth of Gecko'

April 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jill Young

The Gecko Museum’s opening only had one visitor to consider its most prized pieces: a mango-loving crested gecko that goes by The Mayor. Arriving around 7 p.m., the nocturnal lizard visited his personal gallery earlier this week, stopping to contemplate “American Gecko” and “The Birth of Gecko.” Dallas-based Jill Young, who both painted and curated the miniature museum’s permanent collection as part of a humorous quarantine activity, told Hyperallergic that “The Mayor was particularly fond of my ‘American Gothic’ spoof, ‘American Gecko.’ I guess he’s in an American Modernism phase.”

Similar to the brothers, Pandoro and Tiramisù, that disregarded signs requesting they not chew on the furniture or artworks in The Gerbil Museum, The Mayor ignored the red rope cordoning off the artworks. “I now understand that The Mayor’s relationship to art is a necessarily tactile one, which I can appreciate,” Young said. Despite her gecko’s unconventional approach to art, though, Young hopes to see the small-scale trend continue. “Every pet deserves a cultural outing,” she said.

 

 



Art

Two Curious Gerbils Visit (and Chew on) a Miniature Art Museum Made by Their Quarantined Owners

April 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Filippo and Marianna

Stay-home orders around the world have inspired people to fill their time creatively—think the recreations of well-known artworks and “Coronavirus Tourism Bureau” posters we mentioned last week. But rather than fashion a mock art exhibition for themselves, this London couple thought a little bit smaller. Filippo and Marianna created The Gerbil Museum, a miniature gallery space for their two 9-month-old gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisù.

Complete with cardboard benches and scribbled museum labels, the wood-floored gallery houses humorous versions of iconic works. The couple told Hyperallergic that at first they hoped to paint miniature productions of more obscure pieces but decided that portraying  “The Kiss,” “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and other classics with gerbil subjects would be funnier.

As you can tell, though, Pandoro and Tiramisù lack museum etiquette and have been chewing on some of the furniture, despite the sign that advises restraint. (via Hyperallergic)

As promised, this is the full video of our gerbils visiting the museum. No gerbils or gallery assistants were harmed in the making of this. from r/aww

 

 



Art History

Art Museums and Cultural Institutions Around the Globe are Sending Each Other Virtual Bouquets and Botanicals

March 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dear @mcachicago, Roses are red Violets are blue Your art is modern We love visiting you! #MuseumBouquet Tulip: Robert Thornton, Temple of Flora (1807)” —Field Museum

Social media was teeming last week with floral offerings from cultural institutions around the globe. Since many are closed due to COVID-19, museums like the Guggenheim, MCA Chicago, and the New-York Historical Society, which began the botanical trend, exchanged sweet messages paired with virtual bouquets from their current collections. We’ve gathered some of them here, but be sure to check out #MuseumBouquet on Twitter and Instagram for more historical florals. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 

“A Klimt for a Klimt! Mäda Primavesi and her flowers send their regards to you, neighbor. Cherry blossomTwo hearts#MuseumBouquet” — The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

“To our Crimson friends @peabodymuseum –a Red trillium (Trillium erectum). These should begin blooming across New England in April. We hope this #MuseumBouquet is a reminder of better, brighter days ahead. #MuseumFromHome” —Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

 

 

“Hello to our lovely friends @hirshhorn, we hope this Tiffany lamp #MuseumBouquet shines bright in your feed today. We’re thinking of you! 💐” —New-York Historical Society

 

 

“Hi @Hirshhorn! Happy Tuesday. #FlowersforFriends” —Tate

 

 

 



Art History

A New 5-Hour Advertisement Records a Single-Shot Walkthrough of Russia's Hermitage Museum

March 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

As travel slows due to the global coronavirus pandemic, a new advertisement released by Apple provides an expansive view of one of St. Petersburg’s most-visited institutions that’s accessible without having to venture into crowded spaces. Clocking 5 hours, 19 minutes, and 28 seconds, the single-shot video spans the Hermitage Museum in the nation’s cultural center. It includes a look at 45 galleries, 588 works, and even has live performances from Russian composer Kirill Richter and a ballet duet from the Hermitage Theater.

The ad was shot to showcase the iPhone 11’s battery life but also offers an impressive view of artworks by Rembrandt, Raphael Loggias, and Caravaggio. “This video to me is all about connection through time,” filmmaker Axinya Gog told ArtNet. “Art that is timeless meets modern life and state-of-the-art technology.” Using a complex system of handheld stabilizers, cranes to span rooms, and even a custom app to control the camera, Gog and the group behind the ad created the single-shot take during the course of six hours in the museum.

If you can’t commit to the full five-hour video, check out the one-minute trailer. For a similar look at the Hermitage, take a look at the 2002 film Russian Ark by Alexander Sokurov.

 

 



Art History

Paris Musées Releases 100,000 Images of Artworks for Unrestricted Public Use

January 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

Setting Sun on the Seine at Lavacourt” by Claude Monet (1880), oil on canvas, part of the collection at Petit Palais, Paris

This week the Paris Musées added 100,000 digital copies of its artworks to the public domain, making them free and unrestricted for the public to download and use. From Claude Monet’s “Setting Sun on the Seine at Lavacourt” to Paul Cézanne’s “Portrait of Ambroise Vollard,” the collection contains work from artists, such as Gustave Courbet, Victor Hugo, and Rembrandt, that are housed at 14 museums in Paris like the Musée d’Art Moderne, Petit Palais, and even the catacombs.

Each file contains the high-resolution image, a description about the piece, and the location of the original work, in addition to an exhibition history and citation tips. Most of the images available right now capture 2D works, although there are lower resolution files available of pieces that are not yet in the public domain, providing visitors to the site a chance to view more of the museums’ collections. The site also offers virtual exhibitions, with a project centered on the collections at Maison de Victor Hugo currently on view. (via Hyperallergic)

Portrait of Juliette Courbet” by Gustave Courbet (1844), oil on canvas, part of the collection at Petit Palais

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard” by Paul Cézanne (1899), oil on canvas, part of the collection at Petit Palais, Paris

Julia Jackson from the front ‘Stella’” by Julia Margaret Cameron (1867), photograph printed on albumen paper, part of the collection at Maison de Victor Hugo

Presentation in the Temple” by Jacques Daret (1434-1435), oil on wood, part of the collection at Petit Palais, Paris

Bronze medal of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (19th century), part of the collection at Musée Carnavalet

Portrait of Mr. Victor Hugo” by Léon Bonnat (1879), oil on canvas, part of the collection at Maison de Victor Hugo

Thirty-seven portraits of Voltaire” by Dominique Vivant-Denon (1775), print, part of the collection at Musée Carnavalet

 

 

 

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