museum of folly | stuff and nonsense

7 museum of folly

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St. Charles of the Flowers, 2008


charles baudelaire, by thomas christensen

By Thomas Christensen, based on historical photos by Nadar and Etienne Carjat
Digital image, colored pixels
Via the Sleep of Reason

This image of nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) is part of a set of contemporary hagioagraphic portraits of historical figures that occupies a wing in MoFo’s historical galleries. Known among MoFo staff as St. Stupid’s Corridor, the wing is often recommended to visitors who are agonized by convulsions of laughter, because of its sobering effects.

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MoFo Bookstore

Bookstore, Our building

museum of folly bookstore

This view of the Museum of Folly bookstore comes from loungerie’s photostream.


Indonesian Jester Puppets, perhaps 19th c.

Historical, Indonesia

central java indoenisa wayang colek rod puppet jesters or clowns

Indonesia, Tegal, Central Java
Wood, cloth, and mixed media
via Asian Art Museum; From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection

Jesters or clowns are among the most popular figures in the folk puppet traditions of Java, Indonesia. The rod puppets (wanage golek) — not to be confused with the more aristocratic shadow puppets (wayang kulit) — are made of brightly painted, carved wood, and are often dressed in batik clothing and bedecked with sequins and beads.

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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:

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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.


Employee entrance

Our building

This photo of our employee entrance is from zarylla’s photostream.

If you came in through the employee entrance you can, if you wish, exit and view our front facade and public entrance.

museum of folly employee entrance


Visitor Comments

Internal memoranda, Visitor Services department

FROM: Anita Gidway, Visitor Services manager
TO: Director’s office

Dr. Thom:

As you know, we have begun providing comment cards for visitors to fill out when they leave the museum. So far we have accumulated 33 cards. I thought you might like to review the comments, which I have sorted by department in the attached spreadsheet. We will continue to monitor this.


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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.”

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“Text is not likely to be stupid”

Internal memoranda

FROM: Membership department
TO: Director’s office

Dr. Thom:

Have you seen something call the stupid filter? We are concerned that this insidious software, which “can detect rampant stupidity in written English,” will interfere with our current membership drive. By filtering stupidity out of the internet, materials for new acquisitions may diminish, and we will have difficulty hosting special exhibitions. Also, according to our colleagues in Marketing and PR, if stupidity is removed from the internet our ability to promote the museum will negatively impacted.

Listen to this:

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