Founded in 1987, the MTA is an eclectic fusion of museum, contemporary art institution and conceptual art piece. Its collections include collage, painting, specimen jars and ever-evolving installations and found art assemblages. It is a work in progress by Canadian artist Michael Poulton.
Wind-up Bowling Ball View of South Wall. lower level.
The museum’s collection includes an object labeled Wind-up Bowling Ball; a classic black ten pin bowling ball, but fitted with a crank and dials. Other ready-mades are often stacked or balanced, emphasizing the temporary nature of their assemblage. The artist is always looking for the satisfaction of the perfect fit. Always looking for disparate parts that seem to belong to each other. The odder the mix, the better the fit, the greater the satisfaction.
Outside on the grounds of the museum for example, a series of delicately balanced rocks appear to float on the surface of the river.
Contemporary art institutions show art in a clean white context removed from everyday life. The MTA on the other hand juxtaposes art, everyday objects and natural specimens. Highly deliberate arrangements, and recognizable art forms balance against the potential suggested by it’s overwhelming scale.
Number Five and Floating Stones. Installation on Grass Creek at the MTA
INEPT ARCADIA EGO. Trompe l’oeil treatment of an otherwise simple bridge at the Museum of Temporary Art. The stones in the foreground are part of another installation titled Floating Stones.
Like a modern day cabinet of curiosities, the museum’s shelves and counter tops are crammed with artfully arranged antiquities, natural specimens and every day objects. One section of shelves holds a collections of cribbage boards, animal bones and tea pots. On another shelf, a series of glass jars catalog a meticulous collection of broken Christmas ornaments, dead butterflies, and natural specimens. Unexpected meaning and beauty arises from these unlikely combinations and juxtapositions.
Most museums are designed to preserve their collections from the ravages of time. They promise some degree of stability and continuity. The collection of the MTA on the other hand is constantly changing and evolving. Antique materials have often been reconstituted in a new way, playing with the sense of time and history. Assemblages at the MTA are frequently disassembled and reassembled into new combinations. Materials and works in progress are revealed in various stages of completion as they sit on the worn wood counter tops. Rather than being a timeless space of preservation, art continually emerges out of and disappears back into the state of flux that is life. No two visits are ever the same. Only in such a context can one hope to show temporary art.