Senet/ Twenty Squares Game Box

Image courtesy of the Met museum

This is an ivory game box and pieces found in a sarcophagus in Thebes (Egypt) and dating back to 1635-1458 BCE. This particular one is on display at the Met Museum in New York but I had the intention of posting a similar one that can be admired at the Beirut National Museum; and that is in better condition as it does not have modern wood panels to reconstruct it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find good pictures of it.

Anyway this box also serves as the board for two games: Twenty squares on one side, in which the players had to race towards the central square; and Senet on the other, another racing game. The two weird looking pieces that are different from the game pieces are knuckle bones and were used as a dice. If you’re interested in learning more about the games, the Met has a great blog post about it which you can find here.

Image courtesy of the Met museum

The Turban Field

Image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.

This ink and gouache on prepared paper by Shahzia Sikander from 2005 is probably one of my favorite paintings ever. When I saw it at the MoMA, it stood out among all the super famous masterpieces. Sikander is an internationally established Pakistani artist, and you can check out more of her art on her website.

Peabody Essex Museum Review

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Useful Info:

  • Collections: Fine and decorative arts from the five continents between the 18th century and today; also temporary exhibitions.
  • City: Salem, MA, USA.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, and until 9pm the third Thursday of every month.
  • Price: $18 regular, $15 students, $10 for children under 16 and free for members and residents of Salem.
  • Website

I’m having a little bit of trouble remembering the exact steps of my visit, partly because it was in June but mostly because the PEM is a museum with very eclectic collections and exhibitions in galleries that are not organized and laid out in the most logical way. It is the kind of museum you can explore freely without referring to a specific itinerary on the map. It is also not huge so walking around without following directions works there. You wouldn’t get lost. So I’m not going to go into too much details about how the museum is laid out and I’m just going to say that my visit took approximately 2 hours.

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For me, there were two things that stood out about the PEM. First, since we’re still on the topic of layout; I found that despite beautiful architecture and a promising ongoing expansion, circulation in the museum was often a problem. There are lots of dead ends in most galleries, so you always have to go back into a couple of rooms you’ve already seen. To move between the main parts of the museum, you have to pass by the atrium (pictured above) which is more or less in the middle.

That problem is a shame because the collections and exhibitions were great. There’s an array of things from Asian art to American art. Below is a picture of an ivory lobster in the Asian export galleries. I wanted to post it as a separate museum entry but the PEM doesn’t have a good collection database online. I really enjoyed the collections, and I was surprised to see this much Asian art in Salem, of all places. There is even a reconstruction of a Chinese house (but I didn’t visit it).

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I also saw three exhibitions which are now over: Audacious: The Fine Art of Wood, which made me want to be a wood artist because there was so much skills involved in the artworks; Branching Out: Trees as Art, which was a bit more child oriented; and Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals which was my favorite and led me to discover this series of photographs.

Finally I’d like to mention the thing I liked most about the PEM, which was, strangely enough, in the Maritime Art galleries. I’m not a fan of seascapes, it’s just personal taste. I find them repetitive and I get bored of them easily. But the PEM did something great in that gallery which caught my interest. They have an unsigned seascape in their collection; which some experts attribute to James Buttersworth and some others to Antonio Jacobsen. The unsigned painting is displayed between one piece of each painter; and there is a panel explaining both arguments. The visitor is left free to decide which side to join. I thought this was a fun and engaging way to make the collection interactive without being authoritative.

Rating

  • Accessibility (location, price, disabled access, transport links and parking): 7.5/10
  • Architecture: 8/10
  • Collections: 9/10
  • Display: 8/10
  • Resources (explanation panels, guides, plans): 8/10
  • Extras (shop, events, exhibitions): 7.5/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Cocotte

Image courtesy of Ladurée

Yes I very clearly am a dessert person. Maybe I’ll post something salty in 3 months. Anyway let’s get to the point. This consists of two pink velvet meringue cups, which are pretty much all you see in the picture filled with rose flavored millefeuille cream, rose poached pear and fresh raspberries. It was created by Antoine Ravary (check out his Instagram and die) for Ladurée on the occasion of Paris Design Week. If you want to try it, it’s only available at Bar Ladurée in Paris.

Untitled-Tara Donovan

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This monumental sculpture by Tara Donovan is composed of hundreds of Styrofoam cups glued on an aluminium structure. It is attached to the ceiling in one of the galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This sculpture is interactive as it can be perceived differently according to the space it is in and the changing light. It is very reminiscent of natural processes, as the artist says that her art “tries to mimic the ways of nature”; but at the same time it is made of a non natural material, which provokes an interesting dialogue.

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Littledrill for J.Crew

Image courtesy of Littledrill

I discovered Shelby Edwards, aka Little Drill on Instagram. She doesn’t have a massive online presence so I can’t tell you much more about her. She photographs objects in bright color schemes and experiments with their aesthetics to reinterpret them. You can check out her website here but I suggest you follow her on Instagram over here.

Hydrangeas and Swallow

Image courtesy of the MFA

I saw this woodblock print by Hokusai (from an ink and color on paper illustration) at the MFA during the Hokusai exhibition. This piece from 1833 struck me as my favorite among all the artworks that were displayed, so I decided to share it here. It’s still part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, as was all the content of this exhibitions, but it is not currently on display.