February 19, 2006

There Is Now A Miffy Museum.

miffy_museum.jpgJust goes to show you, there's more than one way to lock in your spot in the history of children's book art. Possibly because he was afraid of getting shanked by revisionist children's book art historians in the aphid-friendly future, Eric Carle took precautions and built The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art while he could.

If only he lived in a country with a more centrally controlled Cultural Industrial Complex like, say, Holland, where the government underwrites all sorts of artistic endeavors in the name of promoting the National Culture. Then you might get a 5,000 sf museum paying tribute to your entire oeuvre, both the political posters you did in the Sixties as well as the featureless little bunny that has devoured the souls--and wallets-- of half the pre-schoolers in Japan [and every teenage girl].

Our ersatz blogging weekend in Amsterdam was a casualty of our family's flu, and so my sneak preview of the Dick Bruna Huis in Utrecht was a bust, but now that it's open to the public, there's plenty of giddy coverage to choose from. The museum apparently features kid-height exhibitions under the grown-up-level vitrines, and there's a book store and some limited edition artwork.

But from what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be quite the critical distance that one might expect from a "museum." I mean, sure, Miffy's 50, but has she been consistently popular the whole time? Was there an awkward teenage stage or some stints in rehab or some unexplained exhibitionist tendencies? And seriously, if Miffy's 50 and Hello Kitty's only 30, where's the huge trademark infringement lawsuit? [Unsurprisingly, neither character is talking. But then, neither one has a mouth.]

I mean, why else would the Miffyganda juggernaut trot out quotes like this, the opening sentence from the Dick Bruna Huis press release published on the "Official Holland Site", if they didn't have something to hide?:

Following in the footsteps of the Dutch Masters Rembrandt van Rijn, Piet Mondrian and Vincent van Gogh, the world famous artist Dick Bruna is going to have his own museum. Within Holland’Äôs powerful, visual traditions of the 17th century, Dick Bruna has developed a powerful, visual style that has made him what he is today: A modern Dutch Master.
Dude, Eric Carle is SO pissed right now.

Dick Bruna: a modern Dutch Master
Dick Bruna Huis [dickbrunahuis.nl]
Previously: Pervy Miffy


That place is going to be SO swamped with tourists. This may be the biggest money grab involving Dutch art and Japanese people since Yasuda Insurance payed almost $40 million for that (probably fake) Van Gogh! :)

[lol, that quote should be on the front page of holland.com -ed.]

I may be alone in this but Miffy scares me. Just watching the show with my godchildren makes me fear for my sanity, their sanity, and just the world. I try to avoid Miffy at all costs. Instead I go with the paramilitary penguins of Madgascar.
Hello Kitty is slightly better but that might just be my fondness for the deviant penguin. Of course I never realized Hello Kitty never had a mouth until I was on the website and it said that she had no mouth because she spoke the international language of love. The gack factor drove me away until the deviant penguin lured me back but as long as it is a decent happy meal toy, who am I to judge their freakish faces.
Just one question: How do they eat?

[how about another question: what is it with you and penguins? And one more: how are you dealing with the inevitable penguin letdown that follows after Summer05, arguably the penguiniest summer EVER? -ed.]

When I was in Holland a few years back, I bought a few of the miffy books, because they're so slick and stylish. And now I look at them and read them to the kids. I definitely like the character...

funny you should mention Eric Carle and Dick Bruna in the same posting, since the Eric Carle museum has an upcoming exhibit called "Dutch Treats: Contemporary Illustration from The Netherlands" that we were planning on driving out to:


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