museum shops of the world: NGV

Stephanie attended NGVI and NGVA on the weekend, in the company of Friend of No Award Zoe, Official Potato Moya and Friend of No Award Ashleigh.

Exhibits acasting a puppet shadowttended: Bunyips and Dragons (Australian Children’s Picture Books, NGVA, do it, so good. So worth it); something with mobiles that are cymbals; Transmission (NGVI, a trap);  Gods, Heroes and Clowns, Monsters of SEAz (DO IT, OMG).

The NGV bookshop receives many points (added potatoes) for the excellent array of children’s books at both NGVI and NGVA, with many Australian (including Indigenous Australian) books at NGVA and many books about introducing kiddies to ~art~ of many styles.

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museum shops of the world: Yokosuka Museum of Art

Please welcome Friend of No Award Amanda to Museum Shops of the World. 

Amanda and the view from the roof (lots of blue)

If there’s one thing the Japanese do well, it’s ridiculous merchandise. And that translates to their museum gift shops (and how!).

I’d long heard of the Yokosuka Museum of Art in Kanagawa – it’s renowned for its architecture and ability to “blend into the sea” (it kind of really does), as well as highlighting contemporary Japanese artists. The gift shop is in two halves – one being in the main building and the other in the separate pavilion dedicated to Taniuchi Rokuro.

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museum shops of the world: mona

This weekend Liz and a host of No Award staff writers visited The Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, in Hobart. And so, a shop review in brief.

Liz wrote:

Too many postcards for old exhibits and not enough for current ones; no Ah Xian postcards, which is unfortunate because I love him and would have bought one.

Strongly book-focused, with jewelry that you can get from the NGV for the same price.

The cunt soap (actual name) was a highlight, except for the peppermint scented one, which just seems intrinsically uncomfortable.  Well, nothing about MONA is meant to be comfortable, but I don’t think genital itch is what they were going for.

TL;DR: two stars.

No Award staff writer Ashleigh notes: what I did appreciate was that the book collection was pretty well focused on artists whose work is or has been on display. that is surprisingly uncommon.

Museum: Museum of Old and New Art

Location: 655 Main Road Berriedale, Hobart, Tasmania

Items purchased: Liz purchased a postcard of “the Star Trek exhibit“; Noted Fatberg Zoe purchased a tote bag; Official Calligrapher Moya purchased “a fatcar postcard & a novelty blood filled syringe pen with which to creep out my new work frans.” Ashleigh purchased these things and also has a list of books she plans to purchase cheaper from book depository.

Getting There: Liz and the No Award staff writers flew to Hobart and drove to Mona because the boat is $20 a head and is basically there to disguise the lower middle-class suburbs that surround MONA.

Date and Time Visited: mid arvo, Saturday

ETA: Official Calligrapher Moya wishes to amend her review to give MONA negative points, as “the syringe pen is gross and blobby enough to not function as a pen at all”.  Unfortunate, though that is often the way with novelty syringe pens.

museum shops of the world: melbourne museum

Welcome to a new occasional blog series! Here at No Award we love museums and art galleries. But you know all about museums and art galleries, and we know what you really want to know: what’s in the shop at the other end. Well, wonder no more! Brought to you by Steph and Liz and the No Award Staff Writers, this is an occasional blog series of museum and gallery shops not only in Australia’s capital cities, but Australia’s tiny towns and some cities of the world. 

The Melbourne Museum Shop is located next to the Melbourne Museum exit out onto the forecourt between the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building. Steph visited just before sunrise this morning, as part of her White Night experience. The staff were fun and chatty and self-deprecating.

The shop has several shelves of locally and museum-published books, a great selection of Indigenous and Indigenous-themed picture books across several Countries (including two different books about The Seven Sisters and one titled ‘Light Skin, Black Soul’), and the usual variety of dinosaur paraphernalia and astronomy things. There’s also a small amount of tram and Melbourne miscellaneous (including the emblematic Skipping Girl Vinegar who seems to be everywhere right now), and a bunch of stuffed toys that don’t appear to be mass produced. There are also rare print replicas for purchase, and a variety of rocks.

Steph restrained herself to just one book, Islam Dreaming: Indigenous Muslims in Australia by Peta Stephenson, but was severely tempted by The Place for a Village: how nature has shaped the city of Melbourne. Next time.

islam dreaming and a coffee

Museum: Melbourne Museum

Day and time visited: 06:30, Sunday (end of White Night – shop not usually open at 06:30)

Items purchased: Islam Dreaming: Indigenous Muslims in Australia, Peta Stephenson (book)

Location: Nicholson Street, Carlton Gardens

Getting there: 96 tram has a Museum Stop, or walk from Parliament Train Station

Rating: 3 and a half cane toad skin purses out of 5

the bata shoe museum and the centering of the western experience

I’m in North America at the moment, having a grand old time, visiting museums and eating at vegan restaurants and buying more things than I should. Last week I visited the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, which has a lot of shoes, and some interesting curation notes, including the one notation about Australia, which I have in part transcribed for you. Only in part because my photo didn’t really turn out, but you get the gist:

Among the indigenous people of Central Australia a Kurdaicha is a respected elder … the spiritual power to execute a transgressor. With this ability, the Kurdaicha is able to … with a pointing stick and secretly send some of the energy to the transgressor that will kill. The shoes the Kurdaitcha wears are … constructed out of emu feathers and kangaroo hair.

The museum was fun, but it was all like this. A complete disrespect of indigenous people, and non-European histories.

Deerskin slippers made by Wendat women in Canada impressed visitors at the Universal Exhibition in 1855. These deerskin vamps are decorated with very fine moose hair in a floral pattern appealing to the Western market.

Some questions one might ask:

  • Central Australia is pretty big and filled with a number of peoples. Is there any one peoples in particular this tradition belongs to?
  • How did you get these shoes, museum? Did some coloniser steal them?
  • I’m so glad the slippers impressed visitors! WHY ARE WE CENTRING THE WESTERN EXPERIENCE?
  • How did you get these slippers?

I love museums so much. But other problems this museum had: outdated names for indigenous Canadian nations and peoples, and a general lack of specificity around a number of cultures and countries. This is hardly a unique problem; it’s just disappointing. The colonial gaze is prioritised, and the voices of those whose lands we’ve stolen are smushed together and silenced. Great. Good job.


Other things at the museum: the family behind me who looked at the lotus flower shoes and said “Are these for a child? These must be for a child” despite the notes on bound feet right there; learning about crinoline fire death; the chestnut crushing clog; and the smuggler’s clog, that looks like it’s stepping in the reverse direction.