Meschac Gaba Museum Shop on display at Tate Modern 2013

Meschac Gaba
Museum Shop
Installation at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, 29 August – 15 November 2009
Photo: Nils Klinger
© Meschac Gaba

Museum shops have long played an important, albeit ancillary, role in the museum, generating revenue for core activity, extending the educational experience and providing visitors with souvenirs. However, for Gaba the Museum Shop is not secondary; it is crucial.

The Museum Shop created an opportunity for Gaba to involve other artists in his project. His contemporaries from the Rijksakademie and elsewhere contributed sculptures and limited edition objects such as postcards, bags, brooches and shower curtains. Most of these items are presented on wooden pallets on the floor or propped up against the wall. Large wooden stalls and vitrines on trestle table legs are laden with necklaces and earrings made with Gaba’s signature shredded banknotes and banknote dots on dried leaves and corks. The Museum Shop also contains dozens of T-shirts, all especially produced by the institutions that have presented this room in the past.

Gaba’s Museum Shop closely resembles a West African market with inexpensive and high value items presented side-by-side in a seemingly informal yet deliberate manner. When the Museum Shop was first conceived all the items were for sale. For some years now, in an effort to preserve the Museum Shop, only a handful of objects have been available for purchase. Items that are for sale are displayed on one of the stalls and are clearly marked.

The following artists have generously donated works which will remain permanently in the Museum Shop: Franco Angeloni, Antoine Berghs, Franck Bragigand, Joris Brouwers, Roger Cremers, Renata Czajor, Wineke Gartz, Gerda Hahn, Steve Kaspar, Rudy Luijters, Audrey Marlhens, Begoña Muñoz, Kick van Homeijer and Vera Weisgerber.