|Joseph Beuys Felt Suit at the MOMA|
Photo by Ingrid Mida
|The Birthday Ceremony by Sophie Calle 1991|
In Fred Wilson's The Museum: Mixed Metaphors (1993), the artist placed a man's suit amongst a group of traditional African robes and sculptures inside the Seattle Art Museum. This installation included a cheeky parody of the museum labelling system which read "Certain elements of dress were used to designate one's rank in Afica's status conscious capitals. A grey suit with conservatively patterned tie denotes a businessman or member of government. Costumes such as this are designed and tailored in Africa and worn throughout the continent." (Putnam 135)
In 1995, Cornelia Parker and Tilda Swinton presented a performance piece called The Mayse at the Serpentine Gallery in London. In this work, Tilda Swinton lay asleep in a glass display case during gallery hours. In the surrounding gallery space, Parker presented a collection of borrowed items from various museums that were related to people from history, such as the brain of Charles Babbage (1760-1871).
I am fascinated by the concept of the museum as a metaphor and as a place of artistic intervention. If I could, I would mount my own intervention into the museums in Toronto. Their staid, conservative programming needs some shaking up in my view and I believe they would benefit from seeing outside the box so to speak. But that is unlikely to happen in time for the unfolding of this particular project. I suppose a girl can dream....
Putnam, James. Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium. London: Thames and Hudson, 2009.
Tate Gallery Web link http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=26293