commission for museum shop

THIS studio’s accepted proposal:  1] Compose a retail entity that embodies Himalayan culture which the Rubin Museum represents.  2] Rethink the museum shop genre itself, establishing a new and contemporary museum retail paradigm.

THIS proposed a retail space offering an exchange of living artisanal goods: products that offer an alternative to mere museum memories, sympathetic charity purchases and disposable consumer products.

  • goods both high AND everyday culture
  • goods contemporary AND historically vintage
  • goods fashionable AND timeless    

The classic model of the museum gift shop leans heavily on an experience that seems to say, “You must be all tuckered out. Now lets go shopping.” Along this approach, conventional museum merchandise often veers into unintentional kitsch: branded coffee mugs, collection imaged calendars, monogrammed umbrellas-  the list goes on and on. Here one experiences a sure descent into material banality as compared with the art viewing experience itself. Do we yearn for something more?

The potential foundations of all possible museum shops:

  1. consumption, in its best and most pleasurable form, is accompanied by an authentic narrative
  2. developing museum retail commerce that is commensurate with a museum’s collection and curatorial missions
  3. conjuring an aesthetically and spiritually meaningful experience in addition to a commercial one
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