By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Most museum gift shops offer items that fit one of the following categories: art-themed, art-stamped, or art replica. This state of affairs is unacceptable, given that we live in a time when stores like Design Within Reach and Moss treat the retail experience as a museum visit. What museum shops have to offer, beyond their adjacency to rare and/or specialized collections of objects, is their unique access to artists. To champion, and perhaps extend, this interesting trend, below is a selection of items that reflect the special place museums occupy in the world of retail.
Whenever my iPod needs shaking up, I head for the DIA:CHELSEA[522 West 22nd Street, 212-229-2744, currently closed for renovation, so shop online at diacenter.org]. Think of their CDs (especially the one by On Kawara) as replayable works of art. Priced to move at $13 to $15.
THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART[945 Madison Avenue, 212-570-3676] leads the way with artist-commissioned objectsthe best is Jenny Holzer's "Use What Is Dominant" fruit-punch-anxiety bowl, available in a limited edition of 200 for $375 each. Is it an object or a conversation piece?
Rock your inner sculptor's world with stone-carving tools and materials from THE NOGUCHI MUSEUM [9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City, Queens, 718-204-7088). Tool sets start at $80, and a five-pound block of virgin alabaster is $22.
Stone Carving Tools from the Isamu Noguchi Museum
photo: Courtesy of Sculpture House casting