As part of a temporary exhibition there were very clever manikins set up with projectors, so that the blank face became a talking projection of an actor. It scared countless adults witless (to the howling delight of their less shocked friends) and left some children too traumatized to see the full exhibition.
Well travel fans, I need some advice...
Later this year I'm being hauled onto a cruise, so do any of you have cunning advice for day trips to: Lisbon, Gibraltar. Barcelona, Ibiza, Cartagena and Cádiz?
I'm hoping to find some things away from the hordes, so any historic hideaways, gems of local interest or good guided tours... I'm hoping that if I start to get ideas now, I can plan around the rest of the extended family with greater ease, so any advice?
You may have heard about the chap who has a smashing time in an art gallery, deliberately dropping a vase by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, supposedly in protest that the Florida based museum didn't show enough local work. Part of the art exhibition shows an image of Ai Weiwei dropping an ancient Chinese vase and breaking it, so the artist decided "to join him in an act of performance protest." Not thinking through that the vase he was smashing was a $1 million dollar piece of art, and that he'd get criminal charges as a result.
More on the story here with a great "ho hum, I just smashed that" video of the incident happening, which makes the artist look like a toddler waiting to be told off, (as seen in above picture from the BBC) and more quotes from the artist here. It reminded me a lot of a chap we had in our art gallery once...
What really caught my eye was this amazing snippet of statement from the museum:
"As an art museum dedicated to celebrating modern and contemporary artists from within our community and around the world, we have the highest respect for freedom of expression. But this destructive act is vandalism and disrespectful to another artist and his work, to Pérez Art Museum Miami, and to our community."
I love whoever crafted that release to perfectly balance creative expression vs. being a little s*ht.
That quote came from here and is a masterly example of politely dissing someone in posh language.
Mr Ai joined in a similar way by explaining that when he was photographed smashing vases, it was "a little different".
"The work I work on [does] not belong to a museum or other people's property. I never tried to destroy a museum piece - those vases belong to me. He can drop whatever he likes to drop, but not other people's property."
There is undoubtedly a big debate behind this with the old 'what is art' debate, and was the artist right to express himself illegally and at the cost of another's creative output being destroyed (I'm a big fan of good street art, so the illegal/eyesore/property debate interests me) But put all that aside, and just admire the structuring of those two responses to his act, which boil down beautifully between the lines to say "twit".
Asked of Wollaton Hall and Deer park in Nottingham:
This is probably a silly question, but are there actually deer at the deer park?
Well, not that daft I suppose given that Nottingham Castle is really a sort of emptied out ducal mansion. The deer park does have magnificent deer though. They chase the sillier tourists who forget just how big and tetchy wild animals can be up close.
We often get phone calls and emails from visitors who seem to want us to plan their entire trip, assuming that we have encyclopedic knowledge of local hotel availability, travel times... We always help were we can, as is appropriate, and I assume that other staff in other venues do the same. Some visitors just can't draw the line though, as this email I recieved shows:
Some of your 'agh!' type stories make me think you'll get this.
A bloke called me today who banged on about how much his wife wanted to come to our gallery, but he didn't, so he wanted to plan a day in their holiday for her to travel off alone with their daughter, and could I help.
He asked me to suggest travel for visiting us, he then asked me to check the times "because we're in the hotel and I don't have internet access". Then he asked me to book the tickets "because you've got that information in front of you now, so it seems a shame to mess about. I'm happy to read my credit card details to you."
I said I couldn't do that, because it's really not appropriate, or safe for him, but i could give him a phone number for the train people, or I could email the details to his hotel and he could ask the reception to help. He banged on some more about how much the exhibition means to his wife, and again I said I couldn't provide this service, so he offered to PAY me to do it. When I said no again, he offered to send the cash with his wife "so your work won't know".
I said that as a council staff member, I would loose my job if I used his credit card details, because of fraud, and they monitor computer use, so they would know I'd put his card details into a website, and I love my job, and it would be really hard to get another job like it. He apologised loads, said he didn't want to upset me, and gave me his phone number "in case they monitor calls and you're worried they've heard this."
The guy working next to me heard about a quarter of my side of the call, and then tried to calm me down because he thought I was really worried about my job!
It's a constant source of surprise, even though it happens so often, the confusion between museum/gallery/visitor centre staff and tourist information staff, and the persistence of some people even when the limitations of what is possible are explained, and alternatives are suggested. I've never been offered cash though, I wonder if I'm doing something wrong?... ;)
(The location of the gallery and type of exhibition were included in the message, I've removed these details though in case they help identify the venue, and the bewildered staff member.)
The 1980's was my favorite answer. Because when you are 8, that was forever ago.
Just had this group in, so a quick lunchtime sketch of the cuties, who were so eager and excited that they would cheerfully answer any question with almost absolute certainty, regardless of the answer they were giving.
The question here is paraphrased, as it included a description of what we call a period of history (like the Tudors) and asked about a period of history we study "in a hot and dry country, with lots of gods and goddesses, where they buried their kings and queens with all their treasure"
I was looking for Egyptians, which they correctly yelled as soon as I made a pyramid shape with my hands.
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
Follow The Attendant:
All text and images are produced by and copyright of the artist, holder of the domain name of attendantsview.com