WTF? Museum First Proposed to Celebrate Women Is Now Dedicated to a Serial Killer

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We were going to enjoy insight into women”s history, now we”ll have to endure Jack the Ripper.

Women have a hard enough time in the arts, and in history. This kind of hoodwinking isn”t helping the situation.

This past fall, former Google diversity chief Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe won approval to convert an old Victorian-era shop (or, shoppe) into a museum that would examine East London women”s contributions to society throughout history. But this week, it”s been revealed the museum is now going to be online casino about something a little…different. Namely, infamous London serial killer Jack the Ripper. Um. What?

“We did plan to do a museum about social history of women but as the project developed we decided a more interesting angle was from the perspective of the victims of Jack the Ripper,” Palmer-Edgecumbe said in a statement to the London Evening Standard. “It is absolutely not celebrating the crime of Jack the Ripper but looking at why and how the women got in that situation in the first place.”

“Got into that situation”? What? Who “gets into” being murdered? Instead of celebrating the accomplishments of women, they”re glorifying their deaths at the hands of a serial killer.

This is basically a snuff film in museum form.

 

The Met Launches Webseries ’82nd and Fifth’

The weather is slowly getting nicer and there is more daylight everyday. It all feels amazing. The gradual changes that we often don’t stop to observe are happening. Summer nights will soon be upon us with a whole world of possibilities to explore. Stimulation will be ever present and the paths we could choose will be unlimited. If you are like me, you dream of spending these long summer days lost in the museum and gallery circuit wandering through new exhibits. And if you are like me, you have yet to make it to these dreams a reality. Excuses and responsibilties take over your mind and you realize you have to spend most of your days behind a desk. So for the hard working grounded human in us all, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has reinvented the museum-going experience: every Wednesday The Met brings the art from within the walls right to your screen with their new series 82nd & Fifth.

The web series joins together a 100 curators to talk about specific works of art that resonate with them. 82nd & Fifth allows inside access into the depth of artworks that might go overlooked and allows one to hone in on and give attention to individual pieces. While you may be stuck behind your desk sipping iced coffee, let the museum come to you and get lost for two minutes with a small dose of culture.

Check out one of the stand-out episodes featuring curator Doug Eklund and Dedicated to Myself, which exhibits the found photo album of teenage boy who took the traditional model of a photo album and made it uniquely his own. By collaging photographs, illustrations, and notes, the artist propells us into his world to observe his musings on the ladies who weave in and out of it. Eklund states, "The entire album is an excerise in exploring what the pictures mean to him and what people’s relationships to photographs can tell us,"

The series premieres two new episodes every Wednesday, and you can receive these episodes right in your inbox each week, which eliminates half the effort already. Head over to the museum website to uncover several other interactive features as well as a backlog of every episode. Be inspired to gain a new perspective on the way you view the world this season. Exploration is right at your fingertips.

Follow Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez on Twitter.

BoomBox: “Museum” Is The Best Work of Fiction I’ve Heard All Year

“Museum” is the new single from London-based band Fiction, and I can’t stop listening. The group makes precision pop for now (and then), people sharing some ’80s-inspired DNA with acts like Wild Beasts and Yeasayer. Their first three singles—“Careful," “Big Things,” and “Parakeets”—influenced by a dose of post-punk groups like A Certain Ratio and The Comsat Angels (who coincidentally had an incredible 1982 album titled Fiction). “Museum” mixes up a touch of Lloyd Cole and the Commitments with a heavy helping of China Crisis, which isn’t a group people chatter about much these days and that makes the song sound fresh with skittish wonder.

Formed in 2009 by singers/multi-instrumentalists Mike Barrett and James Howard and guitarist Nick Barrett—current bassist/vocalist David Miller signed on later—the group have been active in the U.K. for a couple years now, scoring multiple radio appearances, a spot on the Kitsuné Maison 11 compilation, and even landing a Ford campaign that raised their profile considerably. “Musuem” is the group’s fourth single and the first song from their upcoming debut album The Big Other, which will see release via Moshi Moshi on March 4.

And in case you’re interested in some evidence of that China Crisis sound here a couple gems:

"When the Piper Calls"

“Some People I Know Lead Fantastic Lives"

Redefining the Culture of Collection at Museum

Sculpture, sex, dinosaurs, dance, trolley cars, the Bronx, concert halls, the NYPD: New York is home to a plethora of museums devoted to a multitude of subjects, but there’s only one that aims to reshape our expectations of a museum as an institution.

Located in a re-purposed freight elevator in an alleyway just south of Canal Street, Museum hosts a painstakingly curated collection of found objects from that very block and a selection of donated pieces, which include a cluster of “homemade weapons” (or baseball bats studded with rusty saw blades and nails) and the very shoe President Bush almost got beaned with. A series of performance pieces make use of Museum’s space as well, featuring poetry readings, acoustic sets and art creation in the flesh, as demonstrated by artist Van Neistat’s upcoming presentation, “The Golden Word,” in which he transforms Museum into a pop-up studio to engrave SwissChamp knives for interested visitors to give to as gifts.

With its programming and carefully constructed shelves, recessed lighting, and a dial-in audio guide that details the origins of each oddity in its 150-strong hodge-podge, Museum isn’t just another art installation or pop-up gallery for accidental tourists to stumble upon and scratch their heads over. It’s a surprising, fastidiously planned detour for those intrigued by reinvention and how we define everyday objects, and an intimate look at collections that wouldn’t have a home anywhere else.

Below, Neistat, along with Alex Kalman and Josh Safdie, two of Museum’s three co-founders, elaborate as to what exactly goes into the curation of Museum and why “The Golden Word” fits in so well with its rediscovered surroundings.

Van, let’s start with your connection to Museum and why the project’s taking place here, of all places. Can you take me through the conception and realiztion of “The Golden Word”?
Van Neistat: 
Have you ever seen that movie Rushmore? There’s this scene where Dirk Calloway is making up with Max Fischer, and he goes and visits Max at his dad’s barbershop. As he’s leaving, he gives Max his Christmas present, and he opens it up, and it’s a SwissChamp. He opens it up, and on it, engraved by a machine, is “Max Fischer: Rushmore Yankee 1985-1997” or something like that. I had tried to duplicate that, and I went all over New York to find someone to do that service, and they didn’t do it. So, I started using a wood burner to imitate that. For people’s birthdays, I started to give SwissChamps with their names and little comments on them. Eventually, I’d find these “golden words” when I’d give my friends’ girlfriends knives. I’d start with a word that resonated with them, or a word that made them feel good. I really enjoyed the actual task of doing it, and the best art I make is gifts—or rather, the art I enjoy making most is gifts—and they usually come out the best. I don’t know what the exact moment was when I decided, “Why don’t I just do this? Why don’t I just set up a little booth?” I think it was when I went to Museum for the first time and I was totally blown away. It was the perfect size and scale to do a little activity like this. My work is mostly making movies for the Internet, and it’s very solitary—the camera work is pretty solitary, I shoot it myself, and the editing is very solitary. I spend most of my waking hours doing this, so I wanted to do something that was more involved with a person. I thought that this process, in that it’s based on a making gift to give to someone else, was a beautiful thing. I would think about the person it was for when I was engraving the knife, and that’s when the “golden word” would come to me, usually. That moment of forgetting and just doing, when you let your mind disappear and you’re just focused on carving this little thing. We’ll see how it goes. I’m really looking forward to hearing these stories from people and hearing what they have to say about this stranger maybe I’ll never meet.
Josh Safdie: Van actually has a piece in Museum, and we don’t consider any piece to be a piece by an artist. This was a face to an air conditioner that he was throwing away. It’s still kind of a found object, and on the face of the air conditioner, it says the date and location, and “I BELIEVE A DIRTY AC FILTER IS GROUNDS FOR A FIRING AND A CLEAN AC FILTER IS GROUNDS FOR A BONUS.” We just took the face off and put it there, and it comes across as, “Wow, someone had a crazy boss!” or it could be read as “You know what? We should all live our lives with the meticulousness of every moment. There’s no reason why things should be left undone, things should be thought out all the time.” 

When it comes to the collaboration between Museum and artists like Van, is this a one-time thing, or will we see more performances of this nature in the space?
Alex Kalman: 
We’re doing late-night programming and midnight performances. Last month we had Lawn Waters (formerly of The Beats) perform this beautiful 30-minute Uruguayan song in the space with a microphone, amp and guitar as a crowd stood in the alley. It was really magical and very big and small at the same time. We’re going to have the poet Roger van Voorhees curate an evening of poetry. Musical performances and performance art, readings and collectors giving lectures on the act of collecting and their collections are things we’re going to be doing over the next couple of months.
JS: The guy whose weapons those are is going to be doing a performance piece called “The Cleansing,” and he’s going to power-wash and brush and clean the entire alley.

When I checked out Museum for the first time, I was a little distracted by those “homemade weapons” you had on display. Those were intense.
JS: 
Yeah, that’s from the collection of Lance de los Reyes, who’s a painter. He has them hidden in his studio. I found them underneath some blankets. I said, “What are these?!” and he said, “Don’t worry about those.”

If someone said “Don’t worry about those” referring to a bunch of baseball bats covered in spikes and saw blades I had just uncovered, I would be worried. You guys are brave.
JS: 
They’re beautiful, though! (laughs) They’re not meant to be used; they’re meant to intimidate.

What are you looking for in an artist, musician, collector or collaborator when it comes to inviting someone to contribute to the Museum experience?
JS: 
We’re an institution. I’d say forty percent of an institution is the hands that run it and sixty percent is the life of the institution, the people who come and see it, the people who donate to it and literally just the space itself. We can’t keep the space or institution alive if we don’t have performances and a livelihood being brought constantly. Van will be bringing life into the space during his residency. When we were building the space out with our designer, Michael Caputo, we would hang out in the space for hours and hours at a time, telling stories and doing work. It’s going to be very unique for the four or more people who come in for their “golden word,” for them to have that experience of sitting and talking with this man and giving a “golden word” to a loved one. It’s going to create a very personal experience within Museum, and that’s really our goal.

Van, what is it about Museum that either inspires “The Golden Word” or works so well with this particular project? Is there anything about the contents of Museum that speak to you?
VN: 
One of the things I love about it is its scale. New Yorkers are really excellent at maximizing tiny little spaces, and I feel like Museum is a testament to that. I live in a 144-square-foot apartment in Manhattan, so I have a lot of respect for people who can take a small space and have space within a space. There’s space in there—there’s a beautiful floor and you can kind of almost walk around in it! I liked that there was a kind of institutional hallmark that was testament to New Yorkers and their tiny little spaces.
JS: I think it speaks to New York culture, this lifestyle of finding a calm within the chaos and understanding how to be in the moment. That’s very New York.

What sets Museum apart from the other installations, galleries and performances happening any given night in New York City? Besides its size, what benefit does it have over other museums?
JS: 
Museum is smaller than most museum elevators. No museum elevator offers over 150 objects to look at, all unique in their own way, each with an accompanying story, an audio guide, an accompanying pamphlet and a video screen with two video works on it that could, if you want to, take up to 45 minutes of your time.
AK: I think that in most museums and galleries, you put things that are already culturally considered valuable, or art, on display. Museum is more about noticing the things that often go overlooked, and giving them value by putting them in Museum, and surprising people by what they kind of expect to see when they go to an institution such as Museum. There’s also the seeming randomness of things, the seemingly random alley that it’s on and the space that it’s in and the random neighborhood that it’s a part of. Part of the experience is the surprise and refreshing-ness of saying, we want to create this institution, Museum, and kind of flip upside-down all the classic rules that usually go into an institution.

“The Golden Word” begins at Museum on September 19, 2012. For more information and to schedule a seating with Van Neistat, visit Mmuseumm.com.

Follow Hilary Hughes on Twitter.

Winter in the Hamptons: A Getaway From the Crowds

Ah, serenity in the Hamptons. With celebrities and Upper East Side coteries hibernating in their penthouses and luxury in-home gyms, this venerated coastal stretch of hamlets and villages is all yours, at a third of the price. Winter discounts, special menus, and wait-free services open up to you; the towns acquire the holiday warmth and charm of It’s a Wonderful Life; and without the leaf-covered trees, those multi-million dollar, vacant mansions are suddenly visible from the street. So, go ahead; dine on farm-to-fork fare without a wait, cozy up to the B & B’s wood-burning fireplaces, party in the pubs, and peer into a 1,000-square-foot kitchen or two. For the season, the Hamptons is your playground and you are just one lucky kid. 

Eat: 

Fresno: Fresh Montauk fish, farm poultry, and local winter produce epitomize the three-course, $30 menu at this cozy and airy dining destination. You won’t notice the charming skylights and outdoor pergola as you sit, blissfully enamored by your orecchiette with local butternut squash and sweet sausage, or your mussels with shallots, garlic, and thyme in white wine broth, or your white bean and roasted garlic hummus. Oh! And the warm chocolate cake with nutella-fluff center and hazelnut gelato. I almost forgot.

The Tuscan House: If you can’t make it to Tuscany this year, just come to the Hamptons (Did I just say that?). Homemade, shoelace-thick pastas are coupled with local oceanic, poultry, and produce delights and follow such appetizers as crème-filled mozzarella burrata with grilled figs on crostini, and roasted butternut squash pasta with sage butter sauce. With such a following, chef/owner Billy has started inviting a handful of patrons to accompany him on a winter gastronomic trip to Italy. Ah, la vita è bella. Wear sweatpants.

North Fork Table's Beet Salad

North Fork Table: Rated by Zagat as the top restaurant in the Hamptons (scored a 29!), you can happily evade the crowds this winter while still feasting on the same locally-grown, organic produce and fresh seafood that the summer folk waited 60 more minutes for. Set in celebrity-free, bucolic North Fork, much of the restaurant’s ingredients come straight from the neighboring farms, wineries, fields, and waters. Feast on Atlantic sea scallops, duck confit strudel, grass-fed beef, and desserts from former Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Claudia Fleming. Three-course, $68 prix fixe menu available. Want it at noon and night? Grab a midday lobster roll and one of Claudia’s cookies at the Lunch Truck out back. 

La Plage: Another Zagat favorite, this unassuming creative little French-American spot sits right on the Wading River’s beachy shore and serves fish, produce, and poultry that is brought in fresh every day, still kicking. The menu changes daily, so this is certainly a “just-wing-it-you’ll -love-it” place. Signature dishes include their melt-in-your-mouth duck leg confit with risotto, caramelized sea scallops with gnocchi, and Black Angus filet mignon with buttery Yukon gold potato puree. Stop in for their three-course, $25 prix fixe lunch (which includes a glass of wine) and check out their Mother’s Day special menu. BlackBook tested, Mom approved. 

Buckley’s Inn Between: Sick of the frou-frou nonsense? Just got to have a burger, greasy fingers, and a juice-stained napkin? Stop into this family-friendly Irish pub and restaurant and salivate as you attempt to choose from 14 different kinds of burgers, all under $10 (fries, coleslaw, and pickle included). With homemade chicken pot pie, barbecued Buckley wings, and the fanciest option on the menu being the “Zinfandel Vinaigrette” salad dressing, you’ll find this spot as refreshing as the crisp Long Island air.
 
Sleep:
 
Mill House Inn:  A weekend at this luxury B&B is a study in the art of a good breakfast. You’ll wake up to such unusual offerings as whole-grain pancakes with ricotta, lemon, and dried cherry; lobster frittata with five onion marmalade; and eggnog brioche French toast. And the detail! Every room has a fireplace, marble and glass shower for your 40-minute I’m-on-vacation wash-ups, and mini-sailboat-stocked shelves. Child-friendly and dog-friendly – so friendly that it offers canine treats. Classic Rooms start as low as $225. Extraordinary Suites, equipped with a mini-bar, start at $495. For more discounted deals, see here. Woof. 
 
inside The Baker House of 1650
 
The Baker House 1650: Leave your horse, carriage, and city cynicism at the gate at this historic English cottage-French manor B &B. Built in 1648 and renovated in 2005, the House is full of surprises; flat-screen TVs, Bose radios, and in-room whirlpools supplement the outdoor terraces, 200-year-old wisteria, and wood-burning fireplaces. Breakfast on lemon pancakes before a wood-burning fireplace, or receive your meal in your room and fuzzy robe, delivered with your morning paper. Oh- and there’s a state-of-the-art spa facility, complete with a lap pool, sauna, steam shower, and spa tub. Why leave? Prices start at $247 with 10 percent off until March. Au revoir, stress.  
 
The 1770 House:  An inn with a basement tavern with a fireplace? Sign me up! Built in 1663 and operating as an inn since- you guessed it  – 1770, this tiny B & B features six rooms, most  with fireplaces, and all equipped with flat-screen TVs, plush duvet covers and linens, and snacks by Dean & DeLuca to nibble in bed after your nightcap. Make crumbs, go crazy. Prices start at $295.
 
Be Merry:
 
Stephen Talkhouse:  Take a seat at this normally standing-room-only intimate live music club. Known to attract musicians like Billy Joel and Paul McCartney for impromptu jams, Talkhouse’s covers range from $5 to $100 depending on the act, which varies from local stars to international chart-toppers. Hip, wild, and unpretentious since 1970.
 
Rowdy Hall: According to Hamptons lore, this English pub/ French bistro got its name from church-going locals who would pass the still-rowdy guests on Sunday mornings, declaring the place a “Rowdy Hall.” Proudly, it remains so today. Packed with a wood-burning fireplace, an extensive seasonal and British-inspired beer menu, and a post-drinking indulgent menu, you’ll make friends with your fellow revelers in no time.
 
Naturopathica: Adored by Liv Tyler, Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, and potentially you! What a line-up. This holistic spa offers a 20 percent discount on their skin care products during the holidays, and a special discount on facials and massages that varies monthly. Scrub off itchy dry skin with their “Moisture Drench Facial,” and glow in the snow.  
 
Gurney's Inn's Spa
 
Gurney’s Inn:  Do you like to look at the ocean while you’re soaking in the nation’s only indoor heated seawater pool? No? Then don’t go here, since this newly renovated and venerated inn and spa sits right on the water, guaranteeing ocean views with every mud wrap and ocean radiance treatment. Purchase a $30 day pass for access to the heated seawater pool, bubbling Roman baths, sauna, and steam room. Algae and seawater treatments (locally sourced, of course), facials, and massages also offered. Channel the holiday spirit with the candy cane-inspired peppermint thermalism body treatment. Soak it up, live it up.
 
East Hampton Trails Preservation Society:  Put that chocolate cake with nutella-fluff center and homemade cannelloni behind you with a free hike. Three-to-seven-mile rambles along the coasts, ponds, and bluffs are offered on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and monthly 10+ miles cater to superhuman vacationers. For a good chance of a seal-sighting, take a walk along the Montauk rocks in January or February.  
 
Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum: So you’ll have to take another trek outside for this obligatory landmark visit, but this could be your only chance to see New York’s oldest lighthouse, especially without the background cries of a gaggle of snobby, 5-year-old kids hankering for a cookie and fresh juice smoothie.  With a 110-foot climbable tower that overlooks the rocky coastline, get that camera ready, flash a smile, and make this trip impossible to forget.