Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tickle me Elmo

What is it with art museum shops? At least in New Zealand most of them manage to limit themselves to books and catalogues about local art and artists. So far, at least, we haven’t seen McCahon glasses (“with these amazing painted lenses, every landscape becomes a South Otago landscape”) or even a Len Lye rocking chair (“make every sculpture a kinetic sculpture when you do the rocking”). But when it comes to art from countries and artists a little further away, it’s no holds barred. And so, offerings like the ‘The Screaming Scream Pillow’ (“Squeeze me and I scream”) available at the Auckland Art Gallery bookshop, along with its mate the ‘Light Up Starry Night’ pillow (“Press the moon and the stars light up”). For some reason they don’t stock the Giggling Mona Lisa pillow or even the wind-up Michelangelo Pillow (the detail of God and Adam from the Sistine Chapel plays “I want to hold your hand”). We assume trivialising great art like that is, quite rightly, considered tasteless.