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Posts Tagged ‘museum

“The sound must seem an echo to the sense”*…

As devices once common fall out of use, we stop hearing the sounds that they made…

“Conserve the sound” is an online archive for disappearing sounds. The sounds of a rotary dial phone, a Walkman, an analog typewriter, a pay phone, a 56k modem, a nuclear power plant or even a mobile phone keyboard have partly disappeared or are just disappearing from everyday life. In addition, people have their say in text and video interviews and deepen their view into the world of disappearing sounds…”

The signature sounds of the items above and so many more: “Conserve the sound,” a project of CHUNDERKSEN.

Apposite: “Google Translate for the zoo? How humans might talk to animals,” a review of Karen Bakker‘s The Sounds of Life.

And. of course, 32 Sounds.

* Alexander Pope

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As we listen in, we might recall that it was on this date in 1986, in Cleveland, that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted it’s first class of members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Alan Freed, John Hammond, Buddy Holly, Robert Johnson, Jerry Lee Lewis, San Phillips, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jimmie Rodgers, and Jimmy Yancey. The I. M. Pei designed museum opened on June 7, 1993.

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“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”*…

… and vice versa. Case in point: the new Orange County Museum of Art. On the one hand…

[architect Thom Mayne of the firm Morphosis] created something that is as much a civic plaza as it is a building. The outdoor public space seems to sweep up and glide across the top of the museum, taking up a full 70% of its roof, dissolving any sense that it is a closed and private thing; nor is this mere advertising, since admission is to be free for the next 10 years. Access to the rooftop plaza is by means of a broad flight of stairs, which Mr. Mayne says was inspired by that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In fact, it is less a staircase than an amphitheater. At the same time, the building is handsomely detailed, with textured ceramic panels that give the facade a pleasant sense of physical reality…

The Best Architecture of 2022,” Michael J. Lewis, Wall Street Journal

On the other hand…

Nowhere is the gulf between digital promise and physical fact more spectacularly evident than at the new Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in California, which stands as a $94m (£77m) hymn to the difference between render and reality. From a distance, its sinuous white flanks buckle and bend with the trademark fractured geometries of its architects, the Los Angeles practice Morphosis. The facade rears up around a corner, folding in on itself to embrace a roof terrace, with a similar wayward energy to the torqued steel plates of a rusty Richard Serra sculpture that stands outside.

But, as you approach the building, you see that the ruptured, splintered aesthetic goes beyond the sculptural moves alone. Sheets of buckled steel are screwed crookedly against the edge of the undulating facade, hastily cut tiles have been fitted with wonky abandon, while other parts of the building are literally held on with tape. A temporary clamp keeps part of a soffit from falling down, while glass balustrades lean at precarious angles, their oversized steel fixing plates bolted with Frankenstein glee. The shop of horrors continues inside, where sheets of painted foam-board stand in place of steel coping, cracked glass floors line precipitous aerial walkways, and suspended ceilings appear to have been cobbled together from whatever leftover bits were lying around. The US construction industry isn’t known for its attention to detail, but this is something else…

‘An unfinished Frankenstein’s monster’: the disastrous new Orange County Museum of Art,” Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian

* Proverb

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As we tackle taste, we might recall that it was on this date in 1958 that The Chipmunks— Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (aka Ross Bagdasarian, aka David Seville)– released “The Chipmunk Song” (“Christmas Don’t Be Late”). The song won three Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Performance, Best Children’s Recording, and Best Engineered Record (that was non classical). It even reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles chart– the only Christmas record to top the chart spot until Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” dethroned it in 2019.

That said, when featured on American Bandstand‘s “Rate-A-Record” segment, it received the lowest possible rating—35– across the board.

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“Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course.”*…

Unveiling the Mona Lisa after World War II

The remarkable tale of the Louvre’s successful efforts to protect its treasures from Nazi looting…

… With due respect to the Monuments Men (and unsung Monuments Women), before the Allies arrived to rescue many of Europe’s priceless works of art, French civil servants, students, and workmen did it themselves, saving most of the Louvre’s entire collection. The hero of the story, Jacques Jaujard, director of France’s National Museums, has gone down in history as “the man who saved the Louvre” — also the title of an award-winning French documentary (see trailer below). Mental Floss provides context for Jaujard’s heroism:

After Germany annexed Austria in March of 1938, Jaujard… lost whatever small hope he had that war might be avoided. He knew Britain’s policy of appeasement wasn’t going to keep the Nazi wolf from the door, and an invasion of France was sure to bring destruction of cultural treasures via bombings, looting, and wholesale theft. So, together with the Louvre’s curator of paintings René Huyghe, Jaujard crafted a secret plan to evacuate almost all of the Louvre’s art, which included 3600 paintings alone.

On the day Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Nonaggression Pact, August 25, 1939, Jaujard closed the Louvre for “repairs” for three days while staff, “students from the École du Louvre, and workers from the Grands Magazines du Louvre department store took paintings out of their frames… and moved statues and other objects from their displays with wooden crates.”

The statues included the three ton Winged Nike of Samothrace (see a photo of its move here), the Egyptian Old Kingdom Seated Scribe, and the Venus de Milo. All of these, like the other works of art, would be moved to chateaus in the countryside for safe keeping. On August 28, “hundreds of trucks organized into convoys carried 1000 crates of ancient and 268 crates of paintings and more” into the Loire Valley.

Included in that haul of treasures was the Mona Lisa, placed in a custom case, cushioned with velvet. Where other works received labels of yellow, green, and red dots according to their level of importance, the Mona Lisa was marked with three red dots — the only work to receive such high priority. It was transported by ambulance, gently strapped to a stretcher. After leaving the museum, the painting would be moved five times, “including to Loire Valley castles and a quiet abbey.” The Nazis would loot much of what was left in the Louvre, and force it to re-open in 1940 with most of its galleries starkly empty. But the Mona Lisa — at the top of Hitler’s list of artworks to expropriate — remained safe, as did many thousands more artworks Jaujard believed were the “heritage of all humanity”…

How France Hid the Mona Lisa & Other Louvre Masterpieces During World War II, from @openculture.

* George Bernard Shaw

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As we say thanks for safekeeping, we might send Romantic birthday greetings to a painter whose works were among those saved by the Louvre; he was born on this date in 1798. Breaking with the neoclassical tendencies of contemporaries (like his rival Ingres), Delacroix took his inspiration from Reubens and the Venetian Renaissance, emerging from the outset of his career as a leader of the French Romantic movement. Together with Ingres, Delacroix is considered one of the last old Masters of painting, and one of the few who was ever photographed (see below).

Also a fine lithographer, Delacroix illustrated various works of Shakespeare, Walter Scott, and Goethe.

Eugène Delacroix, c. 1857 (portrait by Nadar; source)

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”*…

John French owns what is believed to be the world’s only moist towelette museum, located at the Michigan State University’s Abrams Planetarium

It started as a joke: a small collection of moist towelettes jammed into a box in an office drawer, at a Pittsburgh planetarium in the 1990s.

John French says he and a friend were amazed at the strange collections he found online in the early days of the internet. But he couldn’t find any moist towelette collections or websites — so he started one… He never imagined his collection would grow to more than 1,000 and travel from Pennsylvania to Texas and then Michigan with him, gathering momentum…

He now runs his mini-museum out of a corner of his office at the Abrams Planetarium in Lansing, Mich. There he displays hundreds of individually wrapped moist towelettes from every continent, except Antarctica…

Towelettes have been marketed to clean everything from fingers to, well, private parts. They were invented in 1958, when American Arthur Julius came up with the idea that became a trademark of the Kentucky Fried Chicken meal.

Over the years it was sold alongside everything from messy meals to popcorn at movie releases. People have donated to French’s museum — which consists of a corner shelving unit — from all over the world…

More at: “Meet the man who runs a moist towelette museum out of a planetarium,” @jsfrench. Visit the museum online here.

* John Wesley

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As we disinfect our digits, we might we might send dirk birthday greetings to poet, author, and critic Edgar Allan Poe, born on this date in 1809 in Boston.  In the late 1830’s, after the first chapters of a short but extraordinarily eventful life, Poe (by this time married to his cousin and living in Philadelphia) began to publish the horror tales (“The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”) and the mysteries (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter”) that have earned him the title of “father” of both genres.  Poe died in Baltimore (in what were surely karmically-appropriately mysterious circumstances) in 1849.

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Edgar Allan Poe at 39, the year before his death

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“A man will turn over half a library to make one book.”*…

Source: Takram

Continuing yesterday’s focus on books…

Marioka Shoten is a bookstore that sells only one book at a time (but sells multiple copies of it) for a week. The bookseller Yoshiyuki Morioka carefully selects a title from novels, manga, biographies and graphic novels for showcasing every week. With the extreme approach to curation, the bookstore is a blend of a shop, a gallery and a meeting place with an essence of minimalism…

From Rishikesh Sreehari (@rishikeshshari), “Single Room with a Single Book,” in his fascinating newsletter 10 + 1 Things.

See also, “Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time,” in @guardian.

* Samuel Johnson

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As we contemplate curation, we might send rational birthday greetings to Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire; he was born on this date in 1694.  The Father of the Age of Reason, he produced works in almost every literary form: plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works– more than 2,000 books and pamphlets (and more than 20,000 letters).  He popularized Isaac Newton’s work in France by arranging a translation of Principia Mathematica to which he added his own commentary.

A social reformer, Voltaire used satire to criticize the intolerance, religious dogma, and oligopolistic privilege of his day, perhaps nowhere more sardonically than in Candide.

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