museum of folly | stuff and nonsense

7 museum of folly

Labels Comments

Category: Contemporary

Roger Rabbit, 2016

Contemporary, USA

Roger Rabbit, "Manure Happens," Daggett Farm, Slater Park, Pawtucket, RI

Slater Park, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Mixed organic and inorganic materials
Daggett Farm

Sometimes the simplest labels are the best, such as this one, photographed by a member of the MoFo staff at a sister institution in the great city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Though brief, the label is profound. Analogy could be made to this poem by Gary Snyder, from his collection Axe Handles:

All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.

Warning signs, 21st c.

Contemporary, Graphics department, Operations department, Visitor Services department

warning signs

Various places of origin
Plastic, metal, wood, and colors
Various lenders

Since our building is new, our Operations, Visitor Services, and Graphics departments have been researching signage options. This small exhibition of 14 signs presents those that our cross-departmental working team felt would be most suitable for our institution.

Below is a list of what the signs signify, as well as the original source.

Read more »

The Museum of Bad Art. 2009

Bookstore, Contemporary, USA

Book; ink and colors on paper
Via the Museum of Bad Art

Our sister institution, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) has announced the publication of a catalogue of highlights from its collection. It is a remarkable work, and we have obtained an advance copy for display here in our galleries (the publication is also available for purchase in the MoFo Bookstore).

The mission of MOBA, located in Dedham and Somerville, Massachusetts, is “to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” The centerpiece of their collection, and the first work they acquired, is Lucy in the Field with Flowers (oil on canvas, artist unknown, date unknown), shown below.

While some visitors consider our museum to be similar to MOBA, we subscribe to a completely different philosophy.

Read more »

Museum signage, 21st century


Vatican Museums, Vatican City
Colors on mixed media

A delegation from the Museum of Folly recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Italy, where we were startled to discover these signs in the Vatican Museums. The signs bear an unexpected resemblance to our museum’s own stairway sign (visible in the right sidebar).

Read more »

Flash Cake, 2009

Contemporary, Operations department, USA

flash drive cake

Mixed organic materials, including sugar, butter, flour, and colors
Via cake wrecks

According to the original owner of this unique object, an image of a man playing golf was submitted on a flash drive to a cake shop. That image was, however, not used, as the following dialogue ensued:

“Hey, Jill, what am I putting on this cake?”
“Oh, check the counter; I left the jump drive out for you there.”
[calling from the back room] “Really? This is what they want on the cake?”
“Yeah, the customer just brought it in.”
“Okey dokey!”

MoFo is pleased to have acquired this unusual flash cake for our permanent collection. It will be on display briefly as our conservators feel an urgent need to stabilize the object against data loss.


Hanging Bush

Contemporary, USA

gw bush says, it's tough, it's hard, it's hard work

It’s Hard, by Thomas Christensen, 2009
Digital image, black and white pixels
Lent by the artist

As the USA prepares to inaugurate a new president, we at the Museum of Folly are preparing to add contributions from the outgoing executive to our Hall of Quotations. This has been a difficult assignment for our curators because there is so much material to work with. Our new building is ample, but its space is not unlimited.

This president has been so creative with language that at times he seems to challenge the very concept of communication. And this is clearly by intent. As he noted in a speech in Beaverton, Oregon, on Aug. 13, 2004, “I hope you leave here and walk out and say, ‘What did he say?'”

Language has been a constant concern of the president. As he noted on Nov. 1, 2006, “Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words.” Which, no doubt, is why he was heard to inform British Prime Minister Tony Blair that “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

Read more »

Reproduction of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1990s

Contemporary, USA

picasso, les demoiselles d'avignon

New York City (publisher), Hong Kong (printer)
Fragment of a page from a book; ink and colors on paper
Via the New York Times

The Museum of Folly was, regrettably, unable to purchase the original painting by Pablo Picasso of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). This reproduction was torn out of an art history textbook.

David Galenson, an economist at the University of Chicago, has proposed an exquisitely stupid method of determining the greatest artworks of the twentieth century. He simply counts how often a work is reproduced in textbooks. “Quantification,” Galenson complains, “has been almost totally absent from art history.” Using this method, Galenson has definitively determined that the top five most important artworks of the twentieth century, in order, are:

Read more »

Real Pooh, 2008

Contemporary, USA

real-life winnie the pooh

pooh stuck in honey jarLake George, Minnesota
Digital photograph; colored pixels
Via Mail Online

This unfortunate Ursus arctos recalls the fictional bear of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh series, who got his head stuck in a honey jar.

While Mr. Milne’s Pooh was, admittedly, a bear of very little brain, our curators do not feel that there is a compelling reason to make a space for him in our already crowded MoFo galleries. Rather, the fools this image evokes are the Lake George police, who shot and killed the bear out of a conern for public safety.


Golf ball, 2008

Contemporary, USA

Durham, North Carolina
Titanium compounds, urethane, and other synthetic materials
Via SFGate

The Museum of Folly is pleased to have in its collection this golf ball, believed to have been struck by Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor Rudi Giuliani, during his attempt to secure a position on the Duke University golf team. The ball was located deep in the rough by a teenage boy, who generously donated it to the museum; it has been marvelously restored by the museum’s conservators.

Errant shots such as the one that caused this ball to become lost may have contributed to Mr. Giuliani failing to make the team. Upon being notified of this decision, Mr. Giuliani filed a 198-page lawsuit, which “claims the coach has interferred with Giuliani’s efforts toward becoming a professional golfer.” The museum’s curators hope someday to add the would-be golf pro’s legal brief to our collection.


Ford Crown Victoria, 1998

Contemporary, USA

San Francisco, California
Plastic with steel reinforcements
Via SFGate

This car, deaccessioned from a fleet belonging to the city of San Francisco and acquired by the Museum of Folly at auction, was used by a city employee for her daily commute between the Central Valley and the city. According to the Matier and Ross report cited in the credit line above, “San Francisco city records show that no fewer than 246 workers, including police brass, airport employees and Muni managers, have take-home car privileges.”

Read more »