Marcel Broodthaers, Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles

This made me happier than a four year old on Christmas morning. Emily from Side Street projects found out about this Broodthaers piece from an art historian friend of hers. Good mojo from 1968, which also happens to be the year I was born.

Marcel Broodthaers (1924 -1976) Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles Broodthaers created this fictitious museum in Brussels in 1968, through which he organized exhibitions, publications, and films. He was one of the first artists to question the role of the institution, display, and text in an art object’s reception. He also produced an unlimited edition of gold ingots stamped with the museum’s emblem, an eagle, a symbol associated with power and victory.
“With the help of a fiction like my museum it is possible to grasp reality as well as that which reality it conceals.”

and another manifestation of this quote:
“Fiction enables us to grasp reality and at the same time that which is veiled by reality”

the text from the actual museum guide: The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles was created in 1968 by Marcel Broodthaers. It was opened as a semi-fictional institution, with Broodthaers taking the role of ‘museum director’ just months after he participated alongside fellow artists and students in the occupation of the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. A wave of demonstrations and occupations were happening across Europe and the World in 1968 due to the increase in social awareness of the population and the dissatisfaction towards the institutions and governmental policies that allowed events such as war, racial discrimination and the onslaught of global capitalism to happen.

The occupation of the museum symbolized a re-claiming of institutional space. Broodthaers had deliberately taken up the role of ‘artist’ four years earlier (he had previously been working as a poet and writer), and through the ‘museological’ format he found a way to both critique the institution and form a space to experiment with his own artistic ideas. The Museum was initially opened in Broodthaers’ house and studio, and had no permanent location. The image of an eagle acted as the emblem of the Museum and its Department of Eagles. There were 11 subsequent sections that included prints, signage, photography, drawings and many artifacts which were shown in various exhibitions and locations.

click here for more

click here for the NY Times article

Posted by hubbyco on 2/22/12 | Permalink