First off, I would just like to say hi and hello to you all. My name is Albert Songalia, aka Penguino. I’ve been an employee of The New Children’s Museum for over three fun years, working as a Museum Guide and Facilitator, and, on occasion, as an artist and camp artist for this lovely organization. You may have encountered, partied, and even danced with me on the exhibit floor. You may have also joined in on one of our cool art workshops that I just happen to be teaching along with one of my many awesome and talented colleagues.
The New Children’s Museum has been open since May of 2008. Our first exhibit had the title and theme of CHILDSPLAY. It was an awesome exhibit. Even to this day, we still get asked about one of the most popular art pieces in CHILDSPLAY, which is Brian Dick’s No Rules Except…, often referred to as the pillow fight room. No Rules Except… was really, really fun. Getting into pillow fights in that little room is an adrenaline rush, but I got clocked repeatedly by tire pillows thrown by our little visitors. I’m telling y’all, some of those kids got cannons for arms.
In September of 2009, the museum closed its doors for a month to put in new art for the new exhibit titled ANIMAL ART. It’s been a great two years since, and now here we are again, September, 2011, taking out the old art and making room so we can put in the new. This time the theme will be TRASH. I’m very excited for this new exhibit and I can’t wait for all the new art to be installed. I count myself very lucky to be able to witness all the cool going-ons in the museum while we’re closed, BUT, ladies and gentlemen, kids of all ages, including the young-at-heart, we never forgot about you. I’ve been tasked with the job of sharing all the cool stuff that’s happening in the museum with you all and I hope to get everybody hyped up for the museum’s grand reopening/block party later next month on October 15 and 16.
So what’s been happening since we closed on September 12? A lot. To put it simply, ANIMAL ART is going the way of the dinosaurs as well as the animals represented on Roman de Salvo’s Apex Chariots, they’ve gone bye-by. However, two of the art pieces will remain to stay for the duration of the TRASH exhibit. These pieces are Ernest Silva’s Rain House and Allison Wiese’s Barn Dance, but in “remixed” forms. Can’t say yet what changes will be done to the Rain House or the Barn Dance but I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to be surprised every so often.
Today is September 19, the second official week of our ANIMAL ART de-install. My colleagues and friends have been hard at work, clearing, cleaning and prepping for the new art to be put in. I got to join in on all the hard labor for a short time. It’s really tiring, but I also find it really fun and even fulfilling. I can’t speak for everybody of course, but I’m sure many of my colleagues feel the same way — it’s a labor of love.
As I mentioned before, a lot has happened and changed in the last week. I saw Rene Peralta’s Fibonacci’s Coop, aka the Improv Theater on the lower level, get taken down. It’ll be replaced by a new art piece titled the 3 Horned Beast by Lisa Little and Emily White of LAYER. Check out their website (www.layerLA.com) to see more of their work.
White Studio on the upper level has been cleared out to make room for superstar artist Vik Muniz’s art (www.vikmuniz.net). As of right now, construction is being done on the L-shaped wall that will be displaying Muniz’s large-scale photographs. That won’t be all of course, the artist and the museum will have a nice surprise in store for our visitors in that space so be sure to come and check it out when we open again.
Also on the upper level, Sun K. Kwak’s Untaping Space is in the process of being taken out so that artist Jason Rogenes (infectedeye.com/artists/rogenes/) can come in to install his art work. He works with cardboard and polystyrene, or Styrofoam, taken from electronic packaging to create some awesomely futuristic sculptural pieces. I’m really keen on seeing what he comes up with for the climbing wall. After reading about and checking out pics of his art online, the nerdy and geeky side of me is pretty excited.
One art piece many of our visitors will miss seeing is Marcos Ramirez ERRE’s gigantic Toy an Horse. For those of you who’ve never seen it, it’s a literal can’t miss for anybody entering through the front entrance of The New Children’s Museum. Basically, it’s a 33 feet tall, two-headed wooden horse structure inspired by the gigantic Trojan Horse of classical Greek literature. Seeing the art piece deconstructed is as amazing as watching it being constructed two years prior.
With everything changing in the museum, is there anything that will remain the same (aside from the Rain House and Barn Dance)? Well, we will still have bubbles, a favorite of our many visitors, small and big, young and old alike, but the design will be completely new and different. Penelope the Whale in our wet studio will be going away. She will be replaced by something new and probably something very big. Can’t say for sure what that will be just quite yet, but I’ll let you all know as soon as I get a definite word on it. Many of you are maybe wondering what’s going to happen to Penelope? Well, if you ask me, it’s a similar story to what I tell people happened to our cute little Volkswagen Love Bug from our CHILDSPLAY exhibit, which is that Herbie the Love Bug was passing by and he fell in love with our colorful car and the two drove away and got married. Well, in this case, Penelope met a gray whale with a really colorful personality while hanging out at the beach, fell in love, and they’ve decided to swim to parts unknown. If I was them I’d swim to Hawaii. The museum will still have clay for us to play and create with in our wet studio, but we’ll have new tables and chairs for our visitors to sit and have fun on.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll keep you all posted as much as I can, with pictures and maybe even some video clips. Keep checking our site (www.thinkplaycreate.org) for more information and updates. If you’re on Facebook, please make sure to “Like” us (www.facebook.com/IHeartNCM) , and if you have Twitter, I totally encourage you to follow us @iheartncm and check our profile as well (www.twitter.com/iheartncm).
Thanks everybody and till next time.