I can’t resist a museum gift shop. When I’m at one in real life, I’m drawn to catalogs and books. On the Internets, I look at fashion. Last night, I was browsing some gift shops online when I hit the Guggenheim‘s site. Why didn’t I know that this New York City museum sells a reproduction of Peggy Guggenheim’s sunglasses?
Margaret “Peggy” Guggenheim was the niece of the wealthy American art enthusiast Solomon Guggenheim (1861-1949). He established the art foundation that created the Guggenheim, which is officially named the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Peggy (1898-1979) was a collector of Cubist, abstract and Surrealist art herself; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is in Venice, Italy. Among the avant-garde artists she promoted were Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí and Piet Mondrian. Some of Peggy’s art was wearable. When she established a gallery in New York City in 1942, she wore mismatching earrings for opening night: one by Surrealist Yves Tanguy and one by sculptor Alexander Calder. She selected them to “show my impartiality between Surrealist and Abstract Art.” Very fair of her. But the sunglasses designed for her by the artist Edward Melcarth were her signature look.
I need to run to the Guggenheim and try those shades on! And see the art, of course.
In other museum-shop news, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is opening an exhibit devoted to David Bowie next month. Some of the related merchandise is already on the website, with more to come. Maybe I need to get this guitar pick. I could turn it into an earring to take the place of the treasured ’80s pick earring that I lost last year.
The Tate Modern, also in London, is opening a Roy Lichtenstein retrospective tomorrow. I bet Stacy Lomman could style the “Hopeless” t-shirt for me.
My most remarkable museum souvenir, at least in terms of longevity, is an astrology ring that I got at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. If I recall correctly, I was still in elementary school when I got this.
It looks great, right? I think its size and shape influenced a couple of my ring designs. I definitely favor rings with round tops, such as my Juana peekaboo skull ring and Hathor swivel ring.
Back when I got the gift-shop ring, the American Museum of Natural History — which includes the planetarium — was my favorite place in the world. I liked the spooky dioramas and the dinosaur bones. I wanted to stay at the museum overnight, so the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg was a big hit with me even though the children in it ran away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art rather than the Museum of Natural History. The Metropolitan Museum gave me a spooky feeling too, so it was close enough. Flash forward a few decades to 2006, when the first Night at the Museum movie came out. It was set at the right museum — the natural-history museum — so I knew I would love the movie before I even saw it. When I did see it, I kept thinking, “I KNEW it would be like this at night! I KNEW IT!” In fact, just this moment, I got all excited to see on the website that the museum has a Night at the Museum tour. But it seems to be a tour of the exhibits behind the characters featured in the Night at the Museum movies rather than a sleepover. Dammit! When am I going to get to stay at a museum overnight? There should be slumber-party tickets sold in museum gift shops. I would sleep in museums all over the world if I had the opportunity. I’d be a wanton woman with art and artifacts, and I wouldn’t be ashamed of it.
*Exit Through the Gift Shop, the maybe real/maybe not, Academy Award-nominated documentary by street-artist Banksy, is available on Netflix.
I also love love love museum gift shops. those guggenheim sunglasses look cool, but they don’t seem so flattering on, at least in the picture.
Your astrology ring is ssssssoooo cool. I’m pretty jealous I don’t have one. I’m always stoked to find any Aries themed charms
I can make you a cool Aries piece!
I’d LOVE to stay in a museum over night too. Perhaps we should hide in one as it’s closing…
Hi my dear! Those glasses are amazing, I bet they would look so cool on you! xx
Jet aka Punk Glam Queen says
I still have a crystal I bought when I visited the Natural History Museum in grammar school! I wish I could remember the name, its so unusual and has grown more crystals over the years! I so want to see that Bowie exhibit, I’m praying they’ll take it over here. If not, I’ll have to satisfy myself with goodies from the gift shop too! I thought I’d recalled that the The “Night at the Museum” tour used to have the kds staying overnight, I was looking into it after as a fun party for G & her friends when she was little. What fun that would be! XXX
I love museum gift shops. My favorite one to date is the Brooklyn Museum. I swear I could have bought out the entire shop. Instead I ended up with some pretty fab jewelry (recycled skateboard earrings – for reals)
Susu Paris Chic says
Those preppy nails! Andy Warhol meets Twiggy… you are so urban city chic Wenday!
Megan Mae says
LOVE the cappy ring. I never run into other Capricorns in real life. The only thing I’ve ever bought from gift shops have been postcards, but they are really fun to look through.
I can spend all day in an art gallery if left to my own devices.
Wendy, if you are in D.C over the summer, the Smithsonian sponsors sleep overs in the various museums. Check their website.
Thanks for the info! Gonna check that out right now!
Susan Partlan says
Those sunglasses are fabulous.
I was also a big fan of the E. L. Konigsburg book as a kid, and I loved reading it to my kids.
wouldn’t you love to have been able to sit down and talk with Peggy??? i bet she was a fascinating person.
I bet she was a pistol, as MrB would say.
Val Sparkle says
Wendy, I took pictures of my puffy shirt and put them on my blog. It was fun wearing it!
I was a little flabbergasted reading this post of yours because I just mentioned some earrings from my local art museum store in my post on Sunday. And now the security word here is “bewilder.” Maybe it’s “be wilder,” but I’m still bewildered!
déjà pseu says
Oh I just adore museum gift shops! They’re also a great place to find cool umbrellas and scarves. Love the astrology ring. We’re hoping to visit the David Bowie exhibit at the V&A when we go to London in May. You know I’m going to be all over that gift shop!
I was very tempted by a Damien Hirst umbrella last time I was at the Tate.
The Franklin Institute in Philly (the science museum to end all science museums)hosted sleepovers for school groups when I was a kid. If they still do, maybe you could sign up as a chaperon!
But how could I feel like a kid if I have to act like an adult among kids? 🙂
The Field Museum in Chicago does sleepovers (“Dozin’ with the Dinos”) but you would have to be part of a family with a 6-12 year old: http://fieldmuseum.org/happening/programs/overnights
I am very happy to NOT be a part of a family with a child in that age range right now!