'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Te Papa - The National Museum

While I was in Wellington I spent a couple of days at Te Papa. Although I actually prefer those old, musty, dusty museums that have lots of stuffed things and drawers and drawers of butterflies and shells and arrowheads, there is plenty to occupy me here. The building has an odd appearance from the outside, as if it is two separate buildings sandwiching the entrance foyer, but as far as I know, it was designed like this.

There is a new sculpture in front that I hadn't encountered. I like it. It seemed to talk to me about where I fit in the scenery, and, by extrapolation, the world. The facets distort and reflect the surroundings, including me of course, and the sky, the buildings... It seemed to say "What are you here for? What do you want from your journey through your surroundings? What will you enjoy about Te Papa this time?"
I resolved to take the bits I wanted from Te Papa this time, and not waste my time being distracted and/ or feeling cross about the 'amusement arcade' atmosphere that I'm not so keen on.

After a pleasant exchange with the custodian of bags and coats, who was also empowered to provide me with an appointment for the following day to visit part of the 'Back of House' Collections, I strolled upstairs and almost immediately discovered a little room of drawings and black and white prints. What a treasure! I was there in raptures for an hour. It contained only about 20 works, but by the likes of Picasso, Braque, Henri Fantin-Latour, and this dear little print by Franz Marc.


  1. I'm ashamed to say that I've never been to Te Papa nor, for that matter, spent much time in Wellington.

    Since I become a follower of your blog, though, I have been more attentive to artworks and, I hope, more appreciative. At one time I would have just passed on the print you've shown but now I would try and see something in it before moving on. The problem is that there is so much to see in the world that an element of selectivity is essential.

  2. Oh yes - selectivity... or, of course, you could just forget that time is limited and pretend that you'll have enough.... What would you change in your life if you had infinity time to do everything?

  3. My life as I live it now is still predicated upon my doctors' diagnosis that my life was coming to a premature end some years ago. I do, therefore, have a sort of 'infinite' life. Given that we all have to live within our financial means and our physical and mental limitations, that my working motto is carpe diem and that I do try to live that motto, any changes would, in practice, be minimal.

    You know sometimes I wish that I was less 'serious' in my answers.

  4. Nothing wrong with seriously carpe dieming!

  5. I tend to agree with you about the old style of museums but I do like the interactive nature of Te Papa which is good for children.

    When I first went there, the big black ball suspended at the entrance on its bed of high pressure water had a sign saying 'Don't Touch' (not that it made much difference) - this year when I visited the sign was gone - I liked that it had.


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