Bristol

Khalil Rabah, The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind (ongoing detail), 2003, wood, glass, vinyl text, olive trees, 83 7/10 x 83 7/10 x 25".

Khalil Rabah, The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind (ongoing detail), 2003, wood, glass, vinyl text, olive trees, 83 7/10 x 83 7/10 x 25".

Bristol

“Museum Show”

Arnolfini
16 Narrow Quay
September 24–November 20, 2011

Whitechapel Gallery
77 - 82 Whitechapel High Street
January 1–March 1, 2013

Curated by Nav Haq

How do you fit several dozen museums into one medium-size art institution? It helps if they’re all at least semifictional and manageably scaled, as in this forty- artist survey of museological mimicries. The reflexive finale of the Arnolfini’s year of fiftieth birthday celebrations, the show collates the continuum from Marcel Duchamp’s 1943 monographic trove in a suitcase, the Bôite-en-valise, to Marcel Broodthaers’s grand upending of taxonomic categories, to quixotic present-day examples such as Bill Burns’s Museum of Safety Gear for Small Animals. (Plus, expect turns by Stuart Brisley, Tom Marioni, and Tomas Saraceno, among others.) “Museum Show,” then, ought to diversely illuminate why artists set up their own museums manqués—beyond the obvious appeal of ruling the roost without worrying about budgets, funding, acquisitions, etc. Most likely, it’ll also make one wonder how such a lulu of a curatorial concept went unclaimed for so long.