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*View of “Marianne Mueller,” 2011.

Marianne Mueller

Peabody Essex Museum

*View of “Marianne Mueller,” 2011.

The popular strategy of inviting artists to interact with a museum’s collections has clear benefits for the institution, creating new and potentially unexpected juxtapositions among objects, and encouraging an audience for contemporary art to engage with historical holdings. It is also a situation in which an institution’s eccentricities become a virtue. Marianne Mueller’s sojourn at the Peabody Essex Museum gave her the opportunity to craft an installation in response to a collection that dates back to the end of the eighteenth century, when the East India Marine Society began to assemble natural and artificial curiosities derived from maritime trade, including a diverse array of ship models and logs, furniture, decorative artworks, paintings, and photographs, in the context of a collection rich in both Americana and international material created for export markets.

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