What do a dead kitten rug, one of Hitler’s handtowels, the model of a model building, and varying shades of pink icing have in common? You probably got it straightaway; they are all part of a new trend in art curation (apart from the pink icing which is the theme of a set of cupcakes that have been ‘curated’ in a local cafe).
For a while now mixing traditional museum objects with art has been part of how curators bid for attention, but it's heading into the mainstream. We've already mentioned how much we liked the last Documenta (Hitler stuff) and David Walsh’s cabinet of curiosities Mona in Hobart (kitten) but in 2013 it's Venice's turn. (But first check out what we suspect is a pic of an OTN staffer in the 21 January 2013 New Yorker article on Walsh hanging out with the Chapmans).
Venice curator Massimiliano Gioni is taking his theme for the big show from the model of a museum building made from wood, plastic, glass, metal, hair combs, and model kit parts by Italian/American folk artist Marino Auriti. The model for Auriti’s Encyclopedic palace of the world is 1:200 scale so we're talking 36 floors reaching around 700 meters. The idea for the museum's content was not modest either. It was intended "to hold all the works of man in whatever field, discoveries made and those which may follow.” Perfect for the Venice Biennale and Gioni is up for it. There’s a rumour he may even stretch as far as New Zealand as he sets out "to explore these flights of the imagination in a show that—like Auriti’s Encyclopedic Palace—will combine works of contemporary art with historical artefacts and found objects.” Now that's what Auriti was dreaming of.
Image: Marino Auriti with his model now housed in the American Folk Art Museum