Learn About Claes Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum at the Southwest School of Art

by Brandon Zech March 4, 2019
Manhattan Mouse Museum film screening

Still from Tacita Dean’s ‘Manhattan Mouse Museum.’ Image courtesy Frith Street Gallery, London

This coming Thursday, March 7, 2019, the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio will present a screening of Manhattan Mouse Museum. Directed by Tacita Dean, the 2011 film follows Pop artist Claes Oldenburg and his 1972 presentation of his Mouse Museum in the controversial and highly discussed Documenta 5 exhibition held in Kassel, Germany.

For the installation, Mr. Oldenburg organized on shelves a collection of found objects, toys, kitschy trinkets, and his own art, mimicking the way pieces are displayed in museums. The installation-museum’s layout was designed to resemble, if looking down on it from above, a mouse head  — a symbol common in Oldenburg’s works. The museum was later expanded when Mr. Oldenburg added the Ray Gun Wing, which houses a collection of objects shaped like small ray guns. (To read more about the museum and its 2013 installation at MoMA, go here.)

Mouse Museum by Claes Oldenburg in New York MoMA

Installation view of Claes Oldenburg: Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (April 14–August 5, 2013). Photo by Jason Mandella. © 2013 The Museum of Modern Art

This screening of Ms. Dean’s film is held in conjunction with the Southwest School of Art’s exhibition Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5, which explores the various components of and public reactions to the show through press clippings and other archival materials. Following the screening, Chad Dawkins, the school’s Curator and Director of Exhibitions, will present a lecture on museums designed by artists in Documenta 5.

The Southwest School of Art will screen Manhattan Mouse Museum at 6 PM on March 7 in the Russell Hill Rogers Lecture Hall.

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