Oh No! And Other Curiosities

People who don’t visit art galleries also miss out on the treasures to be found in their gift shops.  Here are a few curiosities Matthew and I have brought home from various overseas gallery shops.  First – from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Wobbles on its water-filled base.

“Wobbles on its water-filled base.”

“Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream” (1893) is a key work of the Expressionist art movement.  Munch wrote in his diary: “One evening I was walking along a path, the city on one side of me and the fjord below.  I felt tired and ill.  I stopped and looked out across the fjord – the sun was setting, the clouds were turning blood-red.  I felt a scream passing through nature – it seemed to me that I could hear the scream.  I painted this picture, painted the clouds as real blood.  The colors screamed.”   And you will too! ”  (Description on back.)

We haven’t inflated the Inflatable Scream yet.  We just love the box!

"All you need to make ENDLESS AMAZING DESIGNS!"

“All you need to make ENDLESS AMAZING DESIGNS!”

“Since it was first introduced in 1965, Spirograph has made it possible for aspiring artists of all ages to create beautifully intricate designs.  Originally developed as a drafting tool by a mechanical engineer named Denys Fisher, the distinctive wheels and rings of Spirograph cleverly combine the principles of art and mathematics in a way that has inspired and delighted generations.”  (Description on back.)

I was a MASTER of Spirograph when I was 11 years old.  It was Matthew who bought this at the MCA gift shop.  We haven’t even opened the box.  Like the “Oh No!”, the Spirograph box is on display in our office.

A small sculpture from MCA Chicago gift shop as seen when the sun catches it.

A small sculpture from MCA Chicago gift shop as seen when the light catches it.

We found a little metal sculpture at MCA which simply had to come back to Australia. (Whenever we see something like this, we say this will be “a valuable addition to our modern lifestyle”, which is a direct quote from Nick Park’s “Wallace and Gromit”.)

When not reflecting light , the base of this little sculpture is black.

When not reflecting light , the base of this little sculpture is black.

Our mobile from the Guggenheim Museum gift shop in New York.

Our mobile from the Guggenheim Museum gift shop in New York.

Matthew makes tea in this photo of our mobile. (A small Clare Reilly painting hangs in the background.)

Matthew makes tea in this photo showing our mobile. When we move about,  the air currents created keep the mobile in perpetual slow motion.

A copy of Monet's cat from Giverny.

A copy of Monet’s cat from Giverny.

I’m sure that many artists love to collect things.   Claude Monet collected Japanese artefacts and prints which were circulating around Europe in the late 19th century.  In Monet’s house in Giverny (in the kitchen) is the most gorgeous Japanese cat which sits on a pink cushion.  In the GIFT SHOP at Giverny one can buy a small replica of this cat.  Back in 2012 I bought one and it sits on the book shelf in our dining room.

None of our acquired treasures are valuable in any way other than sentimental, humour or curiosity value.  And yet they give us real pleasure every day and assist in making our house a home.

Pencil case with pencil-end design from MCA Chicago. Tiny packet of coloured pencils from Paris.

Pencil case with pencil-end design from MCA Chicago. Tiny packet of coloured pencils from Paris.

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About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
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9 Responses to Oh No! And Other Curiosities

  1. I’ve finally figured it out…your writing is SO compelling because you allow yourself to be so vulnerable. It truly is a peek into the Julie and Matt collective soul.

    LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH!!! When I read your posts, they always make me want to be better. A better artist, woman, photographer, consumer, viewer, traveler, writer…human. You are a personal and real inspiration to me, Julie.

    Ann Kullberg We Teach. We Inspire. You Shine. annkullberg.com

  2. I adore the gift shops in galleries, they are often my favourite part of a visit. Your selection of purchases shows why, they have such interesting and meaningful products and always great books to browse. I loved my Spirograph as a kid but would always get close to finishing a pattern then slip and put a line through it, especially the ones where the wheel went around the outside of the bars. Karen

  3. What a great collection! My brother was given a Spirograph and I loved it too, but like Karen I remember the frustration of that slip right at the last moment! The mobile reminds me of Alexander Calder, I guess it is inspired by his work. I was lucky enough to see a big exhibition of his work last time I was in London. There is something mesmerising and calming in the way the pieces slowly move through the air. The gift shops always draw me in too, some have the most wonderful unusual objects you never see anywhere else.

    • I’m crazy about the work of Alexander Calder as well. I’ve seen many of his pieces scattered through various collections though never a whole exhibition of his work.
      That’s the thing about museum/gallery gift shops, isn’t it, Anna. You never DO these interesting things for sale anywhere else.

  4. Tina Walsh says:

    Very interesting Julie. I love the mobile and your cat. Thank you for sharing.

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