Contemporary museums in today’s world are going outside of that predictable box I write about so often and putting together exhibitions that are more relevant to how we live in today’s world, as opposed to simply displaying the works of talented artists.
At MAD, which I write about frequently, they recently had a 2014 Biennial (see post) that focused on current artists and artisans that have a big impact on our lives in New York City today. The exhibition displayed a wide range of talented people who didn’t necessarily belong to some artistic niche, but were still very influential behind the scenes in the life we experience in the city.
In that same mode, but perhaps taking it even out further on that “art limb,” there was a new exhibition that opened up at the Victoria & Albert Museum…AKA the V & A…in London called “RAPID RESPONSE COLLECTING.” The essence of the show was to provoke visitors to think about how they interpret everyday objects and how these objects impacted the world we live in today.
In the words of the V & A curators: “Rapid Response Collecting is a new strand to the V&A’s collecting activity. Objects are collected in response to major moments in history that touch the world of design and manufacturing. The display, which will constantly change, show(s) how design reflects and defines how we live together today.”
This need to show a relationship to modern society and what might be called significant events in the world is intriguing and makes for a very unusual exhibition. That the exhibition is in continual rotation is also quite unique. There are four curators associated with the exhibition and they will be adding and deleting from the exhibit as they so see the need.
Without a doubt, an exhibition of this type is rather politically charged. However, the V & A claims that is not the goal of the exhibition. They are not taking sides in the debates around the different articles on display, but are asking the visitors to the museum to consider how art, design, architecture and technology effect such items as globalized manufacturing, significant global events, pop cultural occurrences and political movements in the world today.
The first exhibit, which opened last July, had 12 such controversial items, including:
(1) A pair of black cargo pants made for Primark clothing at the Rana Plaza workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which collapsed and killed more than 1100 people in 2013.
(2) The first 3-d printed handgun.
(3) Ikea’s plush wolf toy “Lufsig,” which was thrown at the chief executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-Ying, during a town hall meeting by an unhappy citizen.
(4) Katy Perry False Eyelashes, handmade by women in Indonesia who work for pennies and sold around the globe for exorbitant prices.
(5) Flappy Bird App, discontinued because of abusive overuse by people who downloaded it.
(6) Kone Light Weight Cable, which will transform the ability of lifts/ elevators to travel to higher distances at faster rates and allow for buildings to go up even higher.
(6) Christian Louboutin shoes in five shades of “nude.”
According to my very reliable sources at MAD, this type of exhibition is a trend setter for other similar ones that are bound to pop up…as in that latest trend in stores and restaurants…in other museums. So get ready for some interactive museum going in the very near future!
Ciao, ciao ’til next time!