Demystifying the Museum #1

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Demystifying the Museum #1
Mimi Shapiro

Lucky recipients of one of Mimi Shapiro's collages in this exchange will also receive a copy of the handbound book she has made - with images of all her collages in the Demystifying the Museum series and the text, reproduced here:

demystifying the inner workings of the Museum
the fantastic is the opposite of marvelous
what is between shadow and space
anything visual the image
can we answer the question what is art?

don't you know that art is discussed by
people who have no idea what fantastic is
and speak of colors only by their definition
if the miraculous banged on the wall
would it be recognized for what it is
or is the religious iconography all we
notice at this point in time

surely then we are no longer
in the sphere of the fantastic
many a roving exhibition can
astonish the visitor by its variety
one can be moved from delirious fantastic
by the more stately academic
to those that make you

laugh out loud and really
notice the colors, the shapes and
the artist's joy
there is no obstacle to fantasy
or the mystery of what is
no longer possible
for animals talk
and utensils start walking

we enter into the realm of
the fantastic that matters is the
insidious fantastic
something that is feasible,
but not compatible
with thinking - art is just believing

we hunger for the break with
the natural order of things -
for this is art!

is there a crack in our comfortable world?
do each of us have our own definition of
fantastic and disregard all other ideas
something to think about

do we still live in a time when people
believe in hell and witches,
or is the fear of ghosts and spirits
very very real ...
or could the fantastic in art be mysterious?
and maybe that is the definition of art...
something to think about

what if the mirror showed
what is behind the door?
are you afraid of what you will see?
what disturbing details penetrate
the unconscious?
even if the signs are a timetable or
is hell just another
open question?

the museum walls reverberate
with every single answer from all time
there are more questions
than answers always
are excessive beauty and nudity abnormal?
is the color too bright?
or do we need sun shades for protection
from reality?

what is it the tension between
the people and the art that
changes and charges the atmosphere?
is the viewing of art a forbidden ceremony?
when will you admit that
the picture is a message
represented by forms instead of words?
what makes the picture clear
to the artist but not the viewer?

the museum curator thinks that no one but
(s)he knows the idea in the painters mind
and the hidden impulses that made
him or her paint and paint and paint
what stops ambiguity is
the essence of the fantastic and
what happened between the Renaissance
and the beginning of Romanticism?
to change how we feel
and understand art

it is no longer just color and progress
now we know that Picasso did not
paint the same picture twice
maybe we should admire the artists
virtuosity and the art and
not delve into the subconscious
where even Jung was uncomfortable
maybe art is just a simple passion and
the creation of an individual world
and nothing more

in the museum it is impossible
to decipher further because
there is nothing to be deciphered?

dont let the museum become a dream trap
you know what you like and
each and every person can believe
in this interchangeable universe

where art is whatever there is.

...demystifying the inner working
of the Museum hopefully adds one
more demention to this exchange.
Remember you - the viewer
is the real arbitrator of what
you like and what you think is art.
mimi shapiro
january 2004

if you want to see more of my work contact me at

Mimi Shapiro
from Lancaster, PA, USA.

More of Mimi's art can be seen on her site at
Also, Mimi has won an Artist Profile award in the HerStory 2004 competition, out of over 150 artists who entered.
See that work at
email Mimi

6th International Bakers Dozen Collage Exchange

Artists have each made 13 collages.
The one work from each artist shown here becomes part of the permanent collection of the Museo de Collage in Mexico.
Another collage from each artist becomes part of the permanent collection of ArtColle in Sergines, France.
One work from each artist is exhibited and offered for sale in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
A package of 10 mixed collages is sent back to each participating artist.

You can see all collage exchanges here.

Copyright of all images remains with the artist.
These pageswere originally written by Dale Copeland, Puniho Art.
Modified and maintained by the International Museum of  Collage, Assemblage and Construction
Please email if something's not working.
Cecil Touchon, Director

Key words: International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction, collage, collage art, collage artist, collage on paper, collages, collage artists,