When life feels too ordinary, we should make time for a visit to the museum.
When we go to a museum, we enter the building with a specific mindset. We walk around, and we expect to experience art with capital letters. Art with capital letters usually looks like the art we’ve seen before, the art we learned about in our classrooms. If it doesn’t, we feel disoriented, without references, and we decide that what’s in front of us isn’t real art. This way of thinking about art became obsolete in 1917, when Duchamp’s Fountain became famous. The porcelain urinal, along with other artistic achievements, represented a shift in humanity’s experience of art. Art stopped being elitist and, for that reason, we can now witness an incredible range of artistic experiences. The following museums are an example of such a fortunate shift.
The Museum of Broken Relationships
Who told you your terrible relationship didn’t have a place in the art world? Located in Croatia, this museum is about our romantic past. If you want to get rid of all the souvenirs and tokens from your old relationships, you don't have to throw them away. You can donate them to the people who are interested in the evidence of lost love. When entering this museum, you'll start witnessing, like a voyeur, the anthropological remnants of the intimate moments between couples that aren't together anymore: letters, gifts, the t-shirt that belonged to him but she started wearing in bed, and more.
The New York Earth Room
People usually think that going to the museum requires intellectual effort. But art doesn't have to be complicated or hard to understand. Interpretation and analysis are part of many works of art, but some artists just want you to experience their artworks with a clear mind. This interior sculpture by Walter de Maria is an example of that. Covered in over 200,000 pounds of soil, the Earth Room serves as a "natural sanctuary" where you can stop and take a break from the chaos of the city.
Iceland Phallological Museum
If you ever wake up with the urgent need to see a bunch of penises in one place, I have the perfect recommendation for you. The Phallological Museum, in Iceland, is the place where you can admire over 200 penises of many different species. If you're not that interested in the realistic part of it, you can also check the collection of phallic art. This museum exists thanks to Sigurður Hjartarson, who was fascinated by phallology since he was given a bull’s “pizzle” as a child. Aside from the very interesting penises, this place in Iceland will show you what you can accomplish when you follow your curiosity.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
The Chicken Ramen, the world's first type of instant noodles, was invented by Momofuku Ando. In this museum located in Osaka, you can learn about the history of this meal in Japan and the rest of the world. You can also learn about design through the evolution of their packages and, more importantly, taste all the variety of ramen that this museum offers.
If you don’t appreciate ramen, you’re probably thinking: Why would I go to that museum? Why does that museum even exist? If you don’t discriminate, any piece of history can fit in a museum. Any ordinary object can be framed in an extraordinary way. Don’t you want the option to experience decades of something’s development, no matter how random it seems, in one day?
Avanos Hair Museum
If you're too strict about it, this place located in Turkey isn't exactly a museum, but it has a cool origin story. Apparently, a local man received a lock of hair from a friend as a farewell gift. Then he told the story to some women who visited his house, and so they decided to do the same thing, starting a tradition. Since its beginnings in 1979, this museum has gathered over 15,000 locks of hair.
Art can be a situation, a unique and ephemeral act that disappears but reverberates through time, like a farewell from a friend. The more we expand our idea about what art is and means, the more we’ll perceive art and beauty in our daily lives.
Museum of Sex
Some museums should be the adult equivalent of playgrounds for kids: a fun and exciting adventure. The Museum of Sex, in New York, is a perfect example of that type of museum. This museum gathers the most interesting sexual behaviors of animals, a Bouncy Castle of Breasts, historical images of sexual practices, and more. After visiting this museum, you'll have plenty of things to discuss and, if you’re into it, experiment with your partner or by yourself.
The Museum of Enduring Beauty
Have you ever felt too tired to do your makeup in the morning? Have you ever wondered why it's necessary to do it? If any strange fashion trend makes you think that you don't understand beauty standards anymore, this museum is perfect for you. One thing is true: beauty standards change with time. You might think that, luckily, our current standards are just a little bit annoying sometimes, but in the end they’re perfectly reasonable and understandable, right? They're reasonable and understandable in the same way that deforming your feet to make them look smaller in 18th century China was reasonable and understandable.
This museum will remind you that we’re all the products of our time, and that no matter how logical we think we are, we’ll always think and perceive in terms of our social context. The different concepts of beauty exhibited in this museum go back to ancient times, and they’ll make you reconsider the hours you spend at the hair salon.
The power of art is such that it can change us in many different ways. It creates internal conflict and pushes us out of our typical mindset. That's why art's limits are constantly questioned, and the results can be both amazing and weird.
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