Mmuseumm isn’t a typical hoity toity museum but a 4×5 exhibition space tucked into an old elevator shaft in Cortlandt Alley, in Manhattan’s Tribeca. An eclectic assortment of collections and individual objects, it aspires according to artistic director Alex Kalman to be a “modern natural history museum devoted to the curation and exhibition of contemporary artifacts that illustrate the complexities of the modern world.” It’s been entertaining and mystifying visitors since 2012.
So you won’t find anything framed or pedestalled here. But you will find 12 eggs in a heated vitrine waiting to hatch, or a grouping of vicious looking fish hooks that one Doctor Robert Insley in Chatham, Mass., removed from a variety of patients.
Curious as to whether this diminutive place was a giant hoax or a cracked art installation or the real thing, whatever that might be – in other words, whether someone was laughing at me as I perused the rubber chicken wing and the real fake pork sandwich on the wall, I checked out a few facts on the web. It turned out that the thing that amazed me most, a collection of heads called Stranger Visions and credited to Heather Dewey-Hagborg, was the real thing.
Next to each head was a cigarette butt or piece of chewed gum or fingernail clipping. The bio-hacker brought the specimen to a lab, extracted its DNA, then ran the sequence through a facial algorithim and a 3D printer to find out what the gumchewer or smoker looked like. Yes, it might actually be a hoodwink. But it looks like those chicks might hatch.