MuseumMAN is an open cabinet of curiosities tracing a history of two cities through an eclectic mix of art and artifact. With its roots in New York City, it has manifested its unique form of a lived in museum from Berlin to Liverpool.
MAN has been a temporal home for artists and visitors alike. Local and international artists are invited to participate in a dialogue within the space that is MAN, where a menagerie of spatial interventions - events, performance and exhibitions from live bands to levitating manholes - are regularly hosted. Activities inhabit every room and no space is left vacated, except by the artists’ intention.
Museum Director - Adam Nankervis
An Australian artist, based in Liverpool and Berlin, Adam Nankervis has exhibited globally over the last 20 years.
His collaborations with Derek Jarman, David Hockney, Peter Tulley and long-term working partnership with David Medalla - the Fillipino kinetesist, founder of participation, performance artist and conceptualist - have developed a varied experimental practice and participation in a widely diverse set of mediums.
Adam Nankervis has exhibited extensively. Under the banner of MuseumMAN he was representative at The Los Angeles Biennial 2001; LIFE/LIVE Musee D"Art Moderne de la Ville Paris-Centro Culturelle de Belem Portugal curated by Hans Ulrich Orbrist 1996; The Johannesburg Bienniale 1997 curated by Okwai Enwazor and Gerardo Mesquera; Boijmans von Boiningham curated by Peter Fillingham; and exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial 2004.
Adam Nankervis is in the collection of the Arts Council England and private collections worldwide.
MAN was born out of necessity.
The fabrication of a "museum" grew from the demand by galleries and artists wanting to exhibit internationally, or inviting me to perform, under the aegis of "host gallery".
In 1992 New York was in a tangible recession; businesses were closing and boarded up shop fronts abounded. It felt like a plague had hit. A shoe shop on Mercer Street in SoHo belonging to two friends went out of business, with one month remaining on the lease. I offered to take over the space for a series of exhibitions, thus bailing them out and finding a space to show works in the SoHo area, at that time the monolith of the NYC art world.
I called this "temporary" gallery "Another Vacant Space".
"Another Vacant Space" has subsequently opened its doors intermittently in London, Copenhagen and Berlin.
MuseumMAN was properly established in Berlin 1996. I moved into a former DDR apartment and found the flotsam-jetsam of an elderly man; photographs, books, personal items and various paraphernalia. Through these found relics of an anonymous man, his life, a history of a city was revealed.
Another Vacant Space didn't seem an appropriate title for the space in which I lived. In a sense it is a repository of work, collections found on travels, and pieces swapped or given to me by other artists, together with my unknown man’s previously scattered, now purposefully grouped belongings.
The bulk of these works tended toward the reading of the masculine male in multifarious forms. This was unintentional: “MuseumMAN” was simply conceived as the combining of "museum" with my initials, together with an acknowledgment of the unknown man, the unwitting inspiration for installations and performances including, Boquets For A Dead End Street, Pansy Takes A Trip, Flotsam-Jetsam and the Blueprints proposal.
A Blueprint of the Senses has been an ongoing proposal for the last four years since its first manifestation in Berlin 2001. It is conceived as an open invitational to all art practioners, bringing together artists and archival exhibits in one dialogue, that of the evolution of the curiosity cabinet, the circus and the birth of the modern museum, reaching an ultimate fruition at the Liverpool Biennial 2006.
MuseumMAN has been resident in Liverpool since 2004 when I participated in the Liverpool Biennial – and decided to stay.
MAN was and is the first of many concepts, a lived-in museum, where many artists have since its inception in 1996 exhibited, performed, shown films, given lectures…and slept.
Adam Nankervis 2006
British Art historian Guy Brett has written:
...museum is an appropriate word. Most people today trace the origins of the modern museum to the Cabinets of Curiosities assembled in their homes by cultivated grandees of the 17th century (they are the ones we hear about, no doubt those less exalted had their collections too). These cabinets enjoyed a fertile, incongruous mix-up of categories, later distinguished as specialized disciplines: paleontology, natural history, archeology, ethnography, optics, cosmology, art. They were also ´lived-in´ museums, and the phenomenon has reappeared in recent times, both as the dens of obsessional collectors, and as the studios of artists. Click for more
MuseumMAN - Adam Nankervis
Guest Curator London-David Medalla
Co-Curator Berlin- Monica Wehr
Artist in Residence and Facilitator-Marko Stepanov
Artist in Residence and Sister - MAN-JIll Rock
The artists participating have been eclectic from David Medalla to Jill Rock, Gelatin to Marko Stepanov.
Many thanks to Arvinder Bawa who formed the first website, was the webmaster and continues to be webmaster of The London Biennale website, www.londonbiennale.org. Many Thanks to Marisol Cavia for so generously hosting the former site since its inception. Also thanks to Rudy for their patience with my lack of technical expertise.
Any corrections or llinks required, submissions of articles,or additional images, please send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org