The Picturing Museums project started in 2014. The book Picturing Museums is part of this. A museum per chapter is described and the blogs are summaries of that.
2019 is in reverse chronological order, the rest is chronological. On a narrow screen the years are listed on top and at the bottom the visited museums each year are depicted. In 2019/2020 the blogs are being translated from Dutch to English.
International Museum of Modest Art, Sète
Christina Manolagas Rabaste (1962), Singular Encounter. This bronze is opposite Miam museum since 2018. Now it is December 26th, 2019.
MIAM stands for International Museum of Modest Art. The museum is relatively small, ten meters wide. And even though it has has three floors, the second and third floor are half. From the ground floor you can look up at the upper ceiling via the black metal railings and stairs.
The rooms are dark and decorated with all kinds of attributes. The exhibitions on the ground floor and first floor change each half year
It is amazing when you enter, to see on the walls only famous paintings: Picasso’s Ladies of Avignon...
... Van Gogh’s, sunflowers, Starry night, self portrait and his bedroom at Arles, Seurat’s Summer Sunday at the Grande Jatte, Maleviches and others.
Manet’s Lunch on the Grass, Modigliani’s reclining nude and so on.
But you understand they can’t be the real paintings, if only as the name of the museum tells you with the word modest. And soon you see they are all jigsaw puzzles. By placing them in a classic frame it gives the appearance of real paintings and it makes you think about when and if paintings are art. The difference will be made by the experience of the real oil paint, the celebrities name and of course the connected value which attract tons of public. Yet, unconsciously the structure of the puzzle pieces replaces paint texture relief.
Around the corner is a white statue of one meter high surrounded by a scaffolding. If it were life-size, the Maria figure would be about twenty meters high. But who made this titled Cathedral? A vague sign leads me to Elisa Fantozzi (1972).
Bernard Belluc made an installation like a wooden sacrificial altar on which many things are hanging; skulls, ape masks, dinosaur tooth, bones, piano parts and African wood carvings. According to a film on Youtube it has everything to do with King Kong.
On a red platform Bernard Belluc put a moped, a stringless guitar and a dark bust surrounded by many shiny objects, bowls and bakeware set like a flower field that is moved by a fan.
Interesting are some old black-and-white prints of palace rooms with African scenes. They look like collages. One is in Versailles Castle, Salon de Mars, a few people try to push an elephant.
On the upper floor there are a number of big showcases you can walk around. This is the permanent exhibition. Also here the assembled showcases in a way let you think about the actual and essential meaning of art. It could be second hand store vitrines like you can find in obscure alleys in any city or representations diligently ordained like in an art museum. These showcases are, again, Bernard Belluc’s who is one of the founders of the Miam museum. They are collections of toys, cut out pictures, collages and household items which tell you stories. It is the choices which can make them art objects. The design of the particular things in themselves and the combination and how they are placed in consistency with the other things.