Tuesday, March 27, 2012

By their surveys shall you know them

If you ever want to find a crack in the tough hide of an institution, try answering one of their surveys. Caught between default secrecy and the desire to hit the sweet spot of popularity, their surveys often reveal more in a couple of questions than a 1000 media releases. None more so than the Te Papa survey we completed this week. 

News of its existence was already on Twitter but in the end the survey found us as we looked around the Te Papa website. Up it popped unannounced. “Te Papa would like your opinion on a selection of potential future exhibitions,” it chirped. “Have your say and enter the draw to win a Visa gift card.” Why the hell not.

It turns out Te Papa is flying three available-for-hire exhibitions up the flagpole. The selection (a fashion show, a European art master exhibition and a Muppet event) is clearly aimed at what Te Papa regards as its key audiences - fashionistas, traditional art lovers and kids.

EXHIBITION 1. Christian Louboutin. This blatantly commercial shoe show (they’re the ones with the red soles) of the high-end designer is “Drawn from Christian Louboutin’s personal archive”. It is currently available for hire from the Design Museum, London.

EXHIBITION 2. Joan Miro: poetry and light. This exhibition is produced and organised by the Arthemisia Group, an Italian company. Its last contemporary exhibition was the display of Damien Hirst’s diamond skull in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio.

EXHIBITION 3. The Jim Henson Retrospectacle is an exhibition about Muppets. It is available for hire from the New York-based Jim Henson Legacy. JHL was established in 1992 by Henson’s family and friends to keep the Muppet philosophy alive and well into the 21st century.

Not much to say against any of them and not much to say for them either. Miro is international flavour of the month at the moment so no surprises there. Christian Louboutin would would be a gotta-see for Sex in the City fans (you can see Louboutin interviewd on the subject here). And as for 'the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational Muppets'? Right on brand. Gotta love ‘em.