For a short few months Paris has become the site for the reproduction and retelling of collective memories, inspiring stories and alternative art histories. Beauté Congo 1926 – 2015 Congo Kitoko serves as a largely comprehensive insight into the development of modern and contemporary Congolese art. Curated by André Magnin, who has followed the ‘thread of a ninety-year-long story’, the exhibition is a singularly bright point in a dark mass that is the euro-centric shadow covering the Global North.
The Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, London is celebrating Black History Month by addressing the trials, hardships, victories, defeats, successes and losses, but overall the vast impact on the shaping of 18th century Britain by a much overlooked group of people occupying a specific time and place in history:
A pickled unicorn, remote-controlled refugee boats, carousel-pony lasagne, Jeffrey Archer bookburning sessions, and the Grim Reaper going nuts on a bumper cart to the tune of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ – a theme-park with everything you need and to light up your dull British, family seaside vacation:
It is often a severely daunting task to walk into a gallery or museum and actively engage with objects that seem to exist in a different realm – a parallel and sacred universe behind sensors and within glass vitrines – objects with countless connotations, relationships, nuances and layered meanings. What is even more intimidating than engaging with museum objects is approaching the minds behind these constructed universes:
“Objects have lives which, though finite, can be very much longer than our own. They alone have power, in some sense, to carry the past into the present by virtue of their ‘real’ relationships to past events.”
- Susan M. Pearce, Museums, Objects, and Collection: A Cultural Study
Istanbul is home to countless awe-inspiring museums and historical sites that pay homage to the great Ottoman Empire, praise the legendary Turkish architects, and hark back to the epic battles won and lost in and around its perimeters. But tucked away in a corner of the small neighbourhood of Çukurcuma, in a specifically unassuming manner, sits the Museum of Innocence, where this familiar patriarchal national narrative have all but been abandoned, in order to “tell stories on a human scale” (Pamuk 2012).
For many of us enjoying art, visiting galleries and museums, watching movies about art and artists, or even reading the occasional book or article about the going-ons of the art world, there is an entire underlying ruthless system – largely driven by an exclusive club of collectors, dealers, critics, auction houses, and an even smaller group of high-profile artists – called the art market, which we are blissfully unaware of.
The Sackler Gallery highlights a small component of this system – the precarious relationship between artist and buyer – in its current exhibition, The Peacock Room REMIX: Darren Waterston’s ‘Filthy Lucre’.
Let’s talk about the black square.
Black Square is a painting by Russian (born in Kiev of Polish parents) Supremacist painter, or, rather, the Russian Supremacist painter Kazimir Malevich. It was painted in 1915, a little bit bigger than one meter squared, and it is of…well, a big black square, placed squarely in the middle of the canvas.
And it is a fairly big deal. Continue reading
In 1976 the art historian and curator at the Louvre, profoundly exclaimed that “Rome has no museum per sé, but all of Rome is a museum.” And Bazin makes you wonder how a world like that would be, or whether it is possible to walk around in a city as if you are walking through a museum – exploring, learning, discovering, drawing conclusions – and it also makes you think that Bazin must have been a very clever guy, and that the world needs more people like him, or if anyone influential believed in what he said.
I recently reviewed close to 100 apps developed for/by museums as part of an internship and I was simultaneously astounded, surprised, disappointed, intrigued, delighted and inspired by my findings.
I DO NOT think museums are boring. I think museums are essential, increasingly relevant, and tremendously exciting. I cannot imagine living my life without them, I cannot imagine raising my children without them, I cannot imagine a developed, research-rich, intellectually or emotionally happy global society without them. However, in my raving about museums, or relaying museum-related matters to my not-so-passionate-about-museums friends, I realise that some people find them not so thrilling as I. And sometimes when I step into certain museums, I can understand why people might get a little..okay…very bored.