Friday 31st October 2014Museum Hack: The Non-Tour Tour
As surprising as it may be for those of us in the art world to believe, there is a type of person out there who doesn't appreciate museums and galleries, and doesn't understand why they're enjoyable. Sounds almost impossible, right? But there are a huge number of them out there, and they are finally about to get their first chance to really change their minds. At least, if they are in New York City and are considering visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met as it is affectionately known by those of us who already appreciate it. A new start up named Museum Hack is attempted to shift the hearts and minds of those who see museums as dull, boring places with a set of tours specifically designed for the recalcitrant visitor. Nick Gray, the founder of Museum Hack, was just one such person, until a date (who was apparently an excellent tour guide) showed him around the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
OK, so that might be a bit of an oversimplification - it's not just targeted at grumps who feel dragged along to museums, but also at those who already know they appreciate museums but are simply looking for another way to experience the beauty of the artifacts they showcase. While it's a bit of a cliche at this point to refer to something as a 'hack' (no, using a CD spindle as a bagel holder should not be considered a 'life hack'), their tour of the Met, which is named the UnHighlights Tour, appears to be a favourite among those who have taken it, completely opening the eyes of the participants.
Unlike most tours, which tend to be a what's what of the most famous or prestigious works in the museum, the UnHighlights Tour is focused especially on the stories that make the works interesting, regardless of whether or not they have been specially singled out by the museum itself. To that end, Museum Hack hires tour guides from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, as each guide has a unique take on what makes the museum an appealing place to spend time.
For the moment, they are only offering tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, but they hope to expand soon to the Brooklyn Museum and then on to other American cities. So if you happen to find yourself in New York City, and you're on the fence about whether to visit the venerable Met, take the plunge and sign yourself up for a Museum Hack tour and experience an art museum in an entirely new way.
Posted on October 31st 2014 on 01:18pm
Friday 11th July 2014The Largest Outdoor Art Gallery
The World Cup truly is one of the most impressive spectacles on the planet, with hundreds of millions of fans glued to their TV sets and millions more flooding into whichever country is hosting the Cup, generating billions of dollars in revenue. But this year, now that the World Cup is over and life in Brazil is starting to get back to a more normal pace and tone, let's take a look at one of the most truly epic outdoor art galleries in the world, located just in the backyard of Belo Horizonte, the city that played host to 2014's World Cup.
Inhotim, as the 'gallery' is known, is about 500,000 acres of outdoor space dedicated to a huge variety of the arts. Yes, you read that right, 500,000 acres - that's nearly 500000 football fields. Truly, awesomely, staggeringly huge, and full of an incredibly eclectic selection of works from around the world. Technically, the art is spaced out throughout botanical gardens that take up a large part of the gallery's acreage, but the scale of the place is still beyond belief, and will take even the most dedicated gallery enthusiast more than a single day to venture through.
Officially known as the Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim, it is the pet project of former mining magnate Bernardo Paz, who sold his mining company for over a billion dollars to Chinese investors and has devoted himself to the project. The entire space was designed by a long-time friend of Paz, Roberto Burle Marx, a much-celebrated landscape artist who recently passed away. When it finally opened it's "doors" in late 2006, visitors were stunned by the scope of the project, and by the interesting selection of artists represented. Anish Kapoor, Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson and Adriana Varejão are just a few of the recognizable names that can be found adorning exhibits throughout Inhotim. Arguably, the entire space itself is a monumental work by Roberto Marx, as many of the pavilions that dot the landscape are works of art in and of themselves.
Plans are underway to turn the gallery into a tourist destination, complete with luxury hotel and spa for those who hope to do some serious relaxing. The space itself is not even complete yet, with new pavilions being constructed all the time, and new exhibits to be added. If you find yourself in Brazil, it will be definitely worth the visit!
Posted on July 11th 2014 on 05:04pm