The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History is now Open

The Country's only Curiosity Museum is now open Wednesday - Sunday 11am-10pm, with a tiny cafe, cocktail & tapas bar on the ground floor

 
 
 

Following a Successful Kickstarter Appeal supported by 494 people our Museum is Now Open

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History

11 Mare Street, Hackney, E84RP

 

Manifesto For A New Museum For A New London

 

Introduction

 

The Last Tuesday Society presents the first all encompassing museum to open in London since the Horniman in 1901. The Museum will present an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder enclosed within a tiny space, no attempt is made at classification and comprehensiveness, instead the museum focuses on the pre-enlightenment origins of the museum as Wunderkabinett – a mirror to a world so suffused with miracles and beauty that any attempt at categorization is bound to fail.  Where contemporary museumology hides 90% of a collection, attempts to educate and explain, to put the world into neat little labeled drawers dictated by an obscurantist elite establishment that has shown itself in error many time over the centuries & is obsessed with a pedantic overspecialization of so called “knowledge” that means little or nothing to anyone outside it’s narrow little field & oft discredited metanarratives this museum will merely display everything that has glittered & caught the eye of it’s founder – from rare priceless marvels of the natural and scientific worlds like Dodo Bones or speculum to the intriguing beauty of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys,  from old master etchings to prison inmates & mad women’s doodles, occultists paintings and pop art prints, the horrors and wonders of nature, two headed kittens and living coral.  By placing the rare and the beautiful on the same plane as the commonplace, banal & amusing this museum seeks not to educate but to subvert, to show the world not in a grain of sand, but in a Hackney basement.  The Museum has no overreaching aim beyond the theft of it’s visitors time and the hope that it will provide amusement by return & hopes to fill the vacuum between what the establishment elite believes is worthy of worship & what exists in the world.

-       The Museum will include a permanent collection, lectures, parties, exhibitions, cocktails and food.  A place for the wraiths and strays of London’s forgotten bohemian world to gather amongst the dead and the beautiful on deep crimson velvet banquettes, sip absinthe & encage in lively and languorous intellectual debate.

 

The Museum will be divided into two parts – The Upper Galleries with up to two art exhibitions a year and The Wunderkabinett displaying high (& low) lights from the permanent collection in a double vaulted basement, arranged as a gesumskunstwerk in custom built and salvaged museum & jewelry cases.  At the end of the final chamber, past the dead babies & butterflies in The Lion Room deep velvet banquettes surround a sarcophagus holding a 19th century human skeleton, surrounded by erotica & overlooked by a caged lion skeleton & a disturbingly powerful Mervyn Peake painting.   The Lion Room is available for private hire for dinners and intimate encounters for up to ten people.

 

 

 

Collections

The museum will show work and objects both from The Viktor Wynd Collection and from private and institutional loans

 

Curiosities

Shrunken Head, Asmat Human Trophy Skulls, Tribal Art from New Guinea & The Congo, Tin Toys, Juvenilia, Dolls, a bullet and piece of bone from a boys foot, odd books, two headed calf, kitten & lamb, 8 legged lamb, dead babies, Napoleon’s Death Mask, a casket containing some of the original darkness Moses called down upon earth, hair ball from a cows stomach, kidney stone/bezoar, amber,

Erotica – from the Kama Sutra to Shenga, French 19th Century water colours & outsider porn, silly books, stone axes, unidentifiable worms…

 

Natural History

Sea shells, 100s of animal, bird & fish skulls - from a mouse to an elephant, extinct bird feathers, dodo bones, giant ant eater skeleton, Taxidermied dogs, fish & trophy heads, skeletons from a Giant Anteater & Lion to a mole, squirrels, sparrow & swan, playing cards, fossils, minerals, marine invertebrates from a Japanese Spider Crab to a Giant Isopod, every single British Butterfly, Giant Dragon Flies, Spiders, Beetles & Exotic Butterflies, the skull of an extinct Auroch

-       A large living coral reef aquarium

 

 

Fine Art

Artists represented in the collection include

Michael Ayrton, Hans Bellmer, Zoe Beloff, Paul Benney, Peter Blake, Ian Bruce, John Buckland –Wright,  Reg Butler, Leonora Carrington,   Matt Collishaw, Ithell Colloquhoun, Tessa Farmer,  Maeve Gilmore, Hendrik Goltzius,  Gunter Gras, Alasdair Gray, Marcelle Hansellaar,  Vanessa Hodgkinson, Axel Hoedt, Jiae Hwang, Baptiste Ibar, William Hogarth, Augustus John, Ilya Kabakov,  Matthew Killick, Karl Largefeldt, Molly Micklethwaite, Polly Morgan, Willy Mucha, Martin Parr, Pablo Picasso,  Mat Shinoe Pui, Lina Scheynius, Austin Osman Spare, Graham Sutherland, Stephen Tennant, Keith Vaughan,  Agostino Veneziano, Raisa Veikkola, John Waters,  Hugo Wilson, Wols, Stephen Wright, Ossip Zadkine and others who I have forgotten, not to mention the worlds largest (if not only) collection of work by Viktor Wynd.

In depth collection of Austin Osman Spare, Stephen Tennant, Leonora Carrington (graphic works), Mervyn Peake & Gunter Grass

 

Loans from the collection have been made to major institutions including IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Tate Liverpool, The Lowry, and Kendal Museum & Kelvingrove

 

Dandies

 

The Museum holds an in depth collection (much on loan from the estate) relating to the Dandies Sebastian Horsley & Stephen Tennant, ranging from Sebastian Horsley’s nails from his crucifixion & sequined suit to the 1920s scrap books of Stephen Tenant and a large collection of his drawings and paintings.  It also contains a sketch of a life modeling Quentin Crisp

 

 

 

 

Cocktail Bar, Café & Restaurant

The ground floor will play host to a tiny café bar restaurant run by Clapton’s Bonneville under chef Oly Launcy serving simple sandwiches & light bites as well as an extensive evening cocktail menu.  The Lion room in the Wunderkabinett will be available for private hire for magnificent feasts of game and seafood

 

Exhibitions

In The Wunderkabinett

The Infected Museum November 2014-May 2015

The Return of The Fairies – Tessa Farmer May 2015- November 2015

 

The Upper Galleries

1/Surreal England October 2014-April 2015

2/Mervyn Peake, Alasdair Gray & Gunter Grass may 2015-november 2015

4/Austin Osman Spare February 2016 – August 2016

 

The Lecture Series

The Society runs London’s longest running independent literary salon & has hosted over 500 lectures since 2005 from household names to unpublished obsessives.  After a decade as sole curator Viktor Wynd will be joined by Mark Pilkington & Amber Butchart in organizing a wide variety of talks & workshops

 

Literary Director

 

Mark Pilkington founded and runs Strange Attractor, which has been shining a spotlight on adventurous and intelligent alternative culture since 2001. As Strange Attractor, Mark has programmed and hosted countless events in venues all over London and the UK and has curated three exhibitions, including the first public show by the 1930s psychic artist Ethel Le Rossignol. Meanwhile, Strange Attractor's publishing arm has published over 30 books, including four editions of its acclaimed Journal, London's Lost Rivers, Austin Osman Spare, Welcome to Mars, The Influencing Machine, Somnium, Medical LondonAirborne, and many others.  

 

 

 

Fashion Director

Amber Butchart is a fashion historian on a quest to reveal the secrets of our sartorial past and place the semiotics of style in a wider cultural, political and social sphere. She has contributed to productions for BBC 1 & 2, BBC Learning, Radio 4, Channel 4 and Sky Arts, from the Breakfast News to Making History and Woman’s Hour, and she presents a regular ‘In Conversation’ series at the V&A museum looking at issues concerning the clothed body in fashion and performance. As the red-haired half of the Sony-nominated Broken Hearts DJ duo she has played at many of The Society’s Parties over the last ten years and co-hosts a weekly radio show on Jazz FM focusing on swing music, with an emphasis on rediscovering forgotten women of the Jazz Age. A former Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, Amber has spoken at the Institute for Contemporary Arts, British Museum, Royal Academy, British Library, Welcome Collection and British Film Institute, and she is an Associate Lecturer in Cultural & Historical Studies at London College of Fashion. She has just written a book on the history of nautical style to be published in 2015 by Thames & Hudson.  Amber Jane Butchart's Fashion Miscellany, her compilation of vestimentary oddities, is out now.  

 

 

The Origins of The Collection

 

In common with many children Viktor Wynd was filled with an insatiable desire to possess things and collected everything he could – from stones to snakes and stamps.  Unfortunately he has never grown out of the habit, the opening of his vastly successful curiosity shop “Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors” & eponymous gallery in 2009 gave him both an insatiable appetite for stuff and the means to find and buy more.  Always keener on buying than selling the collection grew and grew – much of it found in car boot sales or forgotten boxes at auctions.  This is not a collection absent mindedly built up with loose change from a multimillionaire’s trouser pocket. It is the sort of collection that can be found in many private houses of people of modest means but large needs. 

 

Viktor Wynd

 

Is an artist & ‘pataphysicist working in the field of Relational Aesthetics, after being the awarded The Rosenquist Fellowship in Fine Arts & pursuing a M.F.A. at The University of South Florida in the early noughties he exhibited for a while through the commercial gallery and fair system before founding The Last Tuesday Society in 2005 to pursue his projects – including “Loss; an Evening of Exquisite Misery” a ‘pataphysical reinterpretation of Gunter Grass’s Onion Cellar Night Club from the tin drum that attracted thousands of revelers to chop onions and cry.

 

The Last Tuesday Society

 

The Society is a ‘pataphysical organization founded by William James at Harvard in the 1870s & inherited by David Piper & Viktor Wynd in 2005.   Over the last ten years it has put on a bewildering array of events including over 500 literary Salons, vast Masquerade Balls with over 300 performers and 3000 guests, Séances, art exhibitions, Wyndstock – a Midsummer Night’s Ball at Houghton Hall, selling over 75,000 tickets.  The Viktor Wynd Museum is the society’s biggest and most ambitious project to date

 

 

 

Mat Humphrey – art director

 

Mat is responsible for turning Wynd’s vague dreams into a physical museum & reinterpreting them in a practical & affordable light. As an art director & independent curator he has worked extensively internationally for numerous clients for the last 14 years.  For the last ten years he has worked closely with Bryan Adams and is currently curating his exhibition at Somerset House.

Exhibiting under the name Matthew Killick he is an accomplished artist creating strange almost abstract oil paintings inspired by, but not overtly influenced, deep water diving, geology & the human body.  His work is held in many private collections including Damian Albarn, Simon Fuller, Roland Meuret, Bryan Adams & Viktor Wynd.  His most recent  & current exhibition of vast lightboxes on Great eastern Street has been seen by over a million people in the last year

 

 

The Viktor Wynd Museum & The Last Tuesday Society is proud to not be in receipt of any government funding whatever believing that not only does the government have better things to spend it’s money on, like health, education & meaningless foreign wars but that the funding often has a stultifying effect (besides even looking at an arts council form brings on a headache)

 

 

Exhibitions

 

The Infected Museum November 2014- May 2015

In the Museum's Wunderkabinett a group of contemporary artists have been invited to create work that will blend in and subvert the permanent collection of curiosities, oddities, fine art and natural history.

Alastair Mackie, Tessa Farmer, Kate MccGwire, Mat Killick, Theatre of Dolls, Paul Hazleton, Stephen Wright, Magnus Irvin, Shez Dawood, Eleanor Crook, Ed Kluz

 

The Return of The Fairies – Tessa Farmer – May – November 2015

Tessa Farmer returns for her second solo exhibition in which the Fairies will colonize and take over the entire Wunderkabinett

 

Surreal England

 

For the inaugural exhibition of the Upper Galleries of our museum we will present a selection of work by English Surrealists & Crypto-Surrealists Pailthorpe and Mednikoff, Leonora Carrington, Robin Ironside, Angus McBean & Austin Osman Spare drawn from the permanent collection & loans from private collections

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)

Escaped the life of an English Debutante and eloped with Max Ernst in 1937 becoming an integral part of the French Surrealists before settling in Mexico City in the 1940s. The Museums permanent collection contains an in depth collection of her graphic work recently returned from loans to The Irish Museum of Modern Art & The Lowry

Pailthorpe & Mednikoff 

 "In the 1930s Pailthorpe and Mednikoff were hailed as "the best and most truly Surrealist" of any artists living in Britain by André Breton, leader of the movement. Herbert Read, the art critic, ranked them alongside William Blake and Lewis Carroll in the canon of British "super-realists". Desmond Morris, the anthropologist who was also once in the British Surrealist group, said they created some of the most "serious and important works" of the day." Catherine Milner

 

Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956)

Perhaps best known as an Occultist & associate of Aleister Crowley in the 1930s he was hailed as the father of Surrealism for his earlier work on automatic writing and explorations of the unconscious & produced a set of "Surrealist Racing Cards.  The exhibition will draw on the museums extensive holdings of his paintings and drawings

 

Robin Ironside (1912-65)

 

"Robin Ironside, rake-thin and dirt-poor but always exquisitely dressed, looked as if he’d stepped out of the pages of some 19th-century novel. Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire or Joris-Karl Huysmans would all have recognized him as a spiritual kinsman. A glittering-eyed dope fiend addicted to both Benzedrine and opium, Ironside was a chain-smoker who also experimented with mescaline and LSD. I picture him with tiny brushes and magnifying glass in hand, obsessively painting, correcting, erasing and repainting through the night to create the phantasmagorical images of sensuality, excess and decay we see in this show." Richard Dorment