We all know some big name museums – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, or the Musée D’Orsay. Some may even know of local galleries and participate in their regional art scene. But when it comes to the strangest or most unique collections and display, even figures like Albert Scaglione, the powerful art dealer behind Park West Gallery, can find themselves at a loss. With this in mind, here are 6 highlights from the wacky and wild world of the arts. If you can dream it, someone has probably put it on display somewhere. Now is the moment to open your mind to the vast possibilities of the art world. What’s on display may surprise you!
Smart(ie) Art Replicas
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be careful when viewing Prudence Emma Staite’s work – you may be tempted to take a bite. Staite is interested in the art of replication, but she’s brought a twist to this undertaking. Rather than using traditional materials to recreate well-known masterpieces, Staite buys her supplies at the candy shop. In particular, she favors Smarties for creating her renditions of classic paintings.
While not a traditional medium, Staite has an eye that readily captures the essence of the art she replicates. Her version of Seurat’s “Bathers At Asnieres” uses the round candy to sustain the compelling characteristics of Seurat’s massive oil painting, while offering a twist and a bit of intrigue. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that when it comes to her art, Staite is a ‘Smartie’ pants.
The Best Of The Worst
One thing that makes collecting unusual art an adventure is the vast amount of bad art in the world. With that in mind, one Boston collector has reimagined the typical contents of a museum to bring us the Museum of Bad Art.
Featuring the best of the worst out there, the Museum of Bad Art is actually a multi-site undertaking with three Boston locations, as well as an online gallery. While some may not call it art at all, visitors to MOBA revel in the absurdity of the collection and the museum is happy to feature donations from the community – anything original and ugly is fair game for this museum.
Art On The Go
Imagine that instead of traveling to a museum or art gallery, you traveled through one instead. This is precisely the direction that some European cities have taken in the overall design of their transportation systems. While New Yorkers may enjoy the occasionally creative wall tiling or a surprisingly talented street musician, such features are of no comparison to the amazing subway art found in London, Naples, or Moscow.
Subway art may not be ideal in terms of issues like preservation or atmosphere, but what makes these systems unique is that they democratize art, offering it to residents and visitors alike for just the cost of a train ride. In an art market that sometimes attaches a hefty price tag to the act of viewing, this is a refreshing phenomenon.
Interactive And International
If you’re ever in Amsterdam, this European city features some unusual galleries that can change the way you think about art. One that stands out is the Mediamatic Fabriek. This museum takes a special interest in the interactive side of art, encouraging visitors to participate in the projects around them. With a spirit of “gamification,” the Mediamatic Fabriek crosses the boundaries between art, games, and real life and turns the stuffy art gallery trope on its head. With a frequently changing line up and a variety of offerings, this museum will keep you coming back.
Not For Vegetarians
If you’re not too squeamish and have survived a visit to the now ubiquitous Bodies exhibit, you may be ready to take the next step in unusual art. Formerly at the Daneyal Mahmood Gallery in New York, the exhibit entitled “Meat After Meat Joy” brings raw flesh art to the masses. In forms ranging from photography to sculpture and film, the exhibit centers on work that “use[s], or comment[s] on, the concept of meat, its symbolism and viscera.” These are serious ideas, but some may find it hard to take the medium seriously. On the other hand, Lady Gaga wore a dress made out of meat, so maybe there’s something to it all.
More Than A Sideshow
For all the circus lovers out there, a museum exists just for you. Located in Baraboo, WI, Circus World Museum is home to artifacts and ephemera from circuses and sideshows. The museum is even located on the former winter site of the Ringling Bros. Circus. It doesn’t get any more authentic than that. Stop by this museum to learn about the evolution of circuses and see beautiful and bizarre items from circuses throughout history.