Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shake your booty

Later in the year Te Papa is getting the Monet exhibition that is currently on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Given the fuss made when Monet last came to New Zealand – armoured cars, art as bullion etc – we thought we’d look at how this exhibition is being sold to the people of Australia. Apart from the "exclusive Monet Chic Picnic package which includes luxurious overnight accommodation, tickets to the Monet and the Impressionists exhibition, buffet breakfast, car parking, access to Elix'r Health Club and a delicious Chic Picnic," there is also a line-up of talks by experts (comedians, floral artists, journalists and radio presenters), along with that other blockbuster favourite, the DIY. Yes, you have the chance to show anyone-can-make-stuff-that-looks-like-great-art tinged with a whiff of a-child-could-do-it. The site offers primitive tools with which you can create your own work by ‘painting’ over a Monet drawing. When you are done, two actors comment on your efforts in Franglaise.

Still, art is not the only discipline subject to this sort of trivialisation in the name of popularity by marketing. Witness the swipe at Palaeontology by the Auckland Museum in its ad for a T-Rex exhibition. The Museum suggests that you, “…rattle your bones and come and see the old girl.” Fun.

Images: Top, the two “French” wags with the Monet you are asked to make a version of. Middle, the original Monet drawing that you use as the foundation of your masterpiece. Bottom, OTN’s brave effort being diplomatically appraised “It has some fine points.” “It has some not so fine points.” “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”