Artists Museums and Projects

This small selection of artist’s museums includes projects that range from whimsical mischievousness to romantic obsession, via a number of strange encounters, fictive truths, and profound challenges to dominant narratives.

In the accompanying article “The Muse of Misrule,” Antoinette LaFarge suggests that by creating their own museums, artists can embrace a position of power without succumbing to its responsibilities. This endeavor, regardless of whether the artist aims to befriend or deceive, inherently invites playfulness as both process and a product.

Alessandra Ferrini

Alessandra Ferrini

Alessandra Ferrini is a London-based artist, researcher, educator who describes her practice as ‘rooted in lens-based media, (post)colonial and critical whiteness studies, historiographical and archival practices. I am interested in the way historical narratives are produced and how their implied ideologies create subjects – be they individuals or societies. From the position of both insider and outsider to the Italian context, I investigate the Italian archive of coloniality, its foreign and racial politics.

Experimenting with the expansion and hybridization of the documentary film, through a positioned and self-reflexive approach my work engages with ‘difficult heritage’, practices of resistance to systemic violence and of historical responsibility. Framed by the device of the ‘essayistic’, intended as a ‘thinking mode’ retaining the structuring elements of the essay within an expanded field, my practice spans across moving image, installation and dialogic formats, as well as writing, publishing, and education.’

The Alternative Museum of Sudan

The Alternative Museum of Sudan

The ‘Alternative Museum of The Sudan’ was a solo exhibition in London, 2022, by Amado AlFadni, curated by Najlaa El-Ageli. It delves into the hidden histories of Sudan’s people, exploring the impact of colonialism and other external influences.

AlFadni’s multimedia pieces bring local stories to life, shedding light on the exploitation of African people from the past to the present, reflecting on the fate of his Sudanese ancestorsresearch into the buried histories of the people of the Sudan and the impact of colonialism and other interruptive external forces.

AdFadni’s multimedia works revive the local stories and reflect upon the fate of his Sudanese ancestors, revealing an incomprehensible exploitation of the African people, from the earliest times up to the present.

Arkology

Arkology

Artist Thomas Doyle works closely with the American Arkology Society (AAS) to model detailed scenes sent from the dystopian future back to our present day via time capsules called Arks

“Ark” is the catch-all term for the mysterious containers that first appeared in 1971. Though they vary in appearance, known Arks are typically military- or industrial-purpose containers manufactured of plastic, fiberglass, or steel.

The site contains a wealth of information about the 11,000 member organisation AAS and the current body of knowledge about Arks and their origins.

Empathy Museum

Empathy Museum

Led by artist and curator Clare Patey, is a mobile space for participatory art projects that encourage us to see the world through others’ perspectives. With a focus on storytelling and dialogue, the museum demonstrates how empathy can transform personal relationships and address global issues like prejudice, conflict, and inequality.

Key projects include

Human Library: Instead of borrowing books, visitors borrow people for meaningful conversations.

“From where I’m standing”: Stories and portraits of health workers from 2020.

“A Thousand and One Books”: A library of books, each identified by the donor’s dedication, while the title and author remain hidden.

“A Mile in My Shoes”: A shoe shop where visitors walk a mile in the shoes of the person whose story they’ve heard.

Institution Ivan Moudov

Institution Ivan Moudov

Artist Ivan Moudov’s extensive campaign to promote the establshment of a Museum of Contemporary Art in Bulgaria has lead him to ‘liberate’ fragments from artworks exhibited in museums around the world and subsequently present this collection in lieu of a proposed state supported institution.

Kader Attia

Kader Attia

Kader Attia, born in 1970 in France and raised in both Paris and Algeria, has developed an intercultural and interdisciplinary research approach influenced by the rich trading histories, colonialism, and multi-ethnic societies of these cultures.

His work examines how societies view their history, particularly themes of deprivation, suppression, violence, and loss, and its impact on national and individual evolution, all tied to collective memory. Attia’s concept of ‘Repair’, central to his philosophical writings and visual art, posits that repair is a natural and continuous process inherent in all systems, including social institutions and cultural traditions.

This concept interlinks with themes of loss, healing, and reclamation, extending beyond the individual to encompass gender, philosophy, science, architecture, and the evolutionary processes in nature, culture, myth, and history.

Landing Page for website Looty.art

Looty

Looty

Looty, launched by Chidi Nwaubani in 2021, is an innovative project at the intersection of art, technology, and social justice. This initiative uses blockchain and NFT technology to digitally reclaim African artifacts historically stolen during colonial periods.

By creating 3D digital replicas of these items and selling them as NFTs, Looty offers an alternative form of repatriation. The proceeds support young African artists through grants, fostering a new generation of cultural creators. The project challenges the status quo by addressing the legacies of colonial theft and advocating for cultural equity.

Looty not only aims to recover ownership of cultural heritage but also to spark a broader discourse on historical injustices through the lens of digital art. Its mission is to reshape the digital landscape to reflect a more equitable world, using creativity and technology as tools for cultural restoration and education.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships

The Museum of Broken Relationships, conceived by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, is a unique art project existing both physically and virtually. It serves as a public space dedicated to preserving and sharing stories of heartbreak and symbolic items from ended relationships.

This museum focuses on the diverse experiences of love and loss. It houses a growing collection of personal, yet anonymous, items, each symbolizing a past relationship, accompanied by the contributor’s story. Instead of offering traditional recovery advice, it encourages overcoming emotional turmoil through creative expression.

Established in 2006, the museum has toured globally, winning the 2010 EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award for its innovative concept.

Museum of Care

Museum of Care

The Museum of Care reimagines museums, focusing on spaces that foster freedom and care over static displays. This unique global network encourages diverse activities such as reading, dancing, carpentry, and scientific exploration, alongside art, culture, and politics discussions.

Open to all interested in building relationships and environmental care, it invites participation in various “rooms”, nurturing a community of collective freedom.

Distinct from traditional museums, it lacks a permanent collection or set inhabitants, focusing instead on dynamic spaces for social connection and cultural discourse.

This evolving, boundary-free museum operates without the usual restrictions or surveillance of conventional museums.

Museum of Modern Art
Department of Eagles

Museum of Modern Art
Department of Eagles

Between1968 and1975 Marcel Broodthaers created large scale installations that challenged and parodied the notion of ‘the museum’.

Musée d’Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, initially comprised multiple representations of eagles in glass cases labelled “This is not a work of art” The project developed through an number of iterations including at Documenta 5, 1972.

Describing this work Broothaers proposed that ‘This Museum is a fictitious museum. It plays the role of, on the one hand, a political parody of art shows, and on the other hand an artistic parody of political events. Which is in fact what official museums and institutions like documenta do. With the difference, however, that a work of fiction allows you to capture reality and at the same time what it conceals.’

The Museum of Non-Participation

The Museum of non-Participation

The Museum of non-Participation was a socialy creative project 2007 – 2016 led by Brad Butler & Noor Afshan Mirza. Initially operating from the back of a barbers shop in Bethnal Green the Museum intiated multiple interventions including newspapers, wall chalking, reading groups, language exchange, performance lectures, audioworks, walks, and political theatre around the world including extensive engagements in the UK, Pakistan and Australia.

Superfictions and
The Museum of Contemporary Ideas

Superfictions and The Museum of Contemporary Ideas

In 1989, artist Peter Hill coined “Superfiction” to describe artwork blurring fact and fiction related to organizations, events, and individuals. He’s initiated projects like “The Museum of Contemporary Ideas,” a prestigious New York institution existing solely through fictitious press releases about its artists and exhibitions. Hill’s website documents more of his Superfiction projects.

The Museum is Closed

The Museum is Closed

‘Thank you for your understanding’ was a project by Cem A. in collaboration with the Berlinische Galerie (BG) in Berlin, in which the artist placed numerous signs around the museum giving different reasons for its closure during a period of building renovation during May, June 2023. Signs variously proposed that ‘The Museum is closed :’to take a moment to reflect’, ‘because the curator lost the USB stick’, ‘because of the lack of affordable housing in the city’ among outherr reasons.

Hokes Archives

Hokes Archives

Founded in 1901 by Everitt Ormsby Hokes, The Hokes Archives is devoted to the fabrication and documentation of rare and unusual cultural artifacts including unique discoveries from the Aazudian and the Apasht, civilizations. Recent aquisitions include the Association for Creative Zoology Archives and the George and Helen Spelvin Folk Art Collection.

Beauvais Lyons is the Director of The Hokes Archives

Museum of Innocence

Museum of Innocence

The Museum of Innocence houses a collection of items touched by one of the characters in Orhan Pamuk’s novel The Innocence of Objects. The novel and its Museum combine to tell the story of the love affair between cousins in 1970s Istanbul. In narrating the affair between a wealthy man and his poorer cousin the novel explores multiple taboos of Turkish society in the late 20 century. The man’s obsession leads him to collect all the objects that his lover has touched, and eventually to display them in a museum. The Museum which was created by Pamuk-Abran in tandem with writing the novel, contains these objects and is open to the public.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

“The Museum of Jurassic Technology” blurs the lines between fact and fiction, offering an unconventional and surreal exploration of science, history, and art.

The Museum’s website explains that: ‘Although the path has not always been smooth, over the years The Museum of Jurassic Technology has adapted and evolved until today it stands in a unique position among the institutions in the country. Still even today, the Museum preserves something of the flavor of its roots in the early days of the natural history museum – a flavor which has been described as “incongruity born of the overzealous spirit in the face of unfathomable phenomena.”

Zineb Sedira

Zineb Sedira

Zineb Sedira’s work has uniquely contributed to discussions on modernism and modernity, highlighting the artistic vibrancy in North Africa. Initially inspired by her personal identity search as a woman of distinct origins, Sedira’s focus has shifted to broader themes of mobility, memory, and transmission.

Her work, which includes photography (both portraits and landscapes), language, and various archives, blends fiction, documentary, and poetic elements, creating a multifaceted artistic expression.

While originally focusing on photography, video, and installations, Sedira has expanded her repertoire to include object and sculpture production. Central to her work is the concept of preserving and passing down historical memory as a legacy for future generations.