Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Marvelous Museum

Oakland MuseumYesterday afternoon I was at the Oakland Museum of California to revisit the PIXAR exhibit with a friend who is studying animation. At the end of our visit, we took a very quick peek into the refurbished art & history galleries. I'm not that familiar with the Oakland Museum, so the spaces did not seem to be radically overhauled to me. Each gallery splays across a large level plain. The lighting is subdued & cave-like. I like the small darkened room for daguerreotypes & the clever pairing of painted & daguerreotype portraits of Eliza Jane Steen Johnson from the 1850s. The art gallery features an installation by Mark Dion called The Marvelous Museum. The artist raided the museum's storage for obscure items & placed these randomly in the gallery, usually only half unpacked from their crates. One can encounter a telephone pole moored to the wall or a stuffed baby elephant with a stitched repair on its right brow. Sawhorses unceremoniously cordon off a wooden sled, whose label incredibly claims that it comes from Peary's North Pole expedition. The exhibit includes historical recreations of 3 curatorial offices, one of which puts René de Guzman, the museum's Senior Curator of Art, on display. During our visit, he was studiously reading a book as I scanned the book shelves over his head.

§ The Marvelous Museum: A Project by Mark Dion
Oakland Museum of California
September 11, 2010 - March 6, 2011

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