An entry in the Destination Guide drew me to the HAUS Museum of Art, an impressive undertaking in celebration of physical and virtual arts led by Cyraphir. And when I say “impressive”, I mean just that.
Having opened in January 2021, this is an expanse facility. Utilising the Omega XL prefab by GullyRivers. with a 100 x 64 metre footprint, the museum presents around 6,400 sq metres of display area across two floors. That’s a lot of space in which to display art, and I’m happy to say that it is space that is well utilised.
From the entrance lobby, the gallery is broadly divided into six areas, five covering individual facets of art: classical (covering the period 1500-1900), couture, modern art, music, and gaming art, with the sixth devoted to literature and the spoken word.
The largest section, located on the main floor, is that of classical art. It is devoted to “some of the most well-known artists in art history”. Displays within it include pieces by Hieronymus Bosch, da Vinci, Michelangelo (including two superb reproductions of both David and Pietà rendered by Cyraphir), Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Itō Jakuchū, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Katsushika Hokusai, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Sir Frederic William Burton, Théodore Chassériau, Gustave Doré, John William Waterhouse, Van Gogh, Utagawa Hiroshige, Gustav Klimit, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
There is no discernible ordering as to how individual artists have been placed within the section, which means that Dali rubs shoulders with da Vinci and Picasso, whilst Klimt faces Bosch. Such juxtapositions might jar with the ordered mind used to dealing with so broad a spectrum of art being presented chronologically, but it actually makes for interesting contrasts / comparisons. Take for example the three approaches towards the representation of objects and the human form seen with da Vinci (realism), Picasso (cubism) and Dali (surrealism).
Other artists such as Van Gogh and Michelangelo have there own display space in which their work can be duly appreciated, whilst others might be more closely associated in terms of time frame (Bouguereau and Burton, Itō Jakuchū and Katsushika Hokusai, for example – with the latter two located with Utagawa Hiroshige, noting their mutual country of birth). In all it is a rich and varied selection, and one in which I was pleased to see the likes of Itō Jakuchū, and some of what might be the lesser-known, but still captivating, pieces by the likes of Van Gogh.
However, I must admit to a tinge of disappointment: outside of a single piece by by Sophie Anderson, female painters are conspicuously absent. Where are the likes of les trois grandes dames of the French impressionist movement: Marie Bracquemond, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, or the works of Élisabeth Le Brun, Angelika Kauffmann, Clara Peeters and Marie-Denise Villers, to name but a handful? I hope they will yet be seen in a future exhibit.
On the opposite side of the ground floor area is a hall that, at the time of my visit, featured avatar studies by Kouralee, together with three spaces devoted to a celebration of both physical and digital couture, one of which – the Sketchbook – was still under construction. Between these is a further exhibition of avatar-centric art by Jasmin Kyong.
The upper floor of the galley is home to a mix of displays encompassing anime art, video games, music and literature.
The first of these comes in images taken from Nagabe’s Totsukuni no Shoujo, published in the web-based Online Magazine Comic Blade. Alongside of and opposite this exhibit are celebrations of art, music and literature, the first being the museum’s reading room. Located next to the Nagabe display, it plays host to live reading events, while across the hall is a section devoted to the late Leonard Cohen.
The latter reminds us of the breadth and depth of Cohen’s of talent and insight into the human condition as a singer-songwriter, poet, novelist and occasional drawer of cartoons. With a brief biography (with a link to his wikipedia page), a discography and quotes from his songs and books, it’s an effective celebration of Cohen’s life.
Reached via a lounge devoted to live music events, the remainder of the upper level of the gallery hosts a display to Taiwanese-American contemporary visual artist James Jean, whose paintings and drawings have drawn world-wide acclaim. Across a further hallway from it is a homage to video game art that features a look at Valve’s puzzle-platform game, Portal, which contains an interactive element and is somewhat eclectic in its appearance here.
Overall, HAUS offers and engaging selection of exhibitions, some (or all?) of which I believe I’m correct in saying will change on a quarterly basis. As a gallery, it works well; as a museum, I’d perhaps perhaps like to see more in the way of interactive links to things like wikipedia pages to allow visitors to find out more about a subject and / or artist (and in the case of Sl artists, perhaps the opportunity to obtain their biography). Details on upcoming events can be found in the Info hall behind the entrance lobby, as can an application to be considered as an exhibiting artist.
All-in-all and impressive and engaging project well worth visiting.
- HAUS Museum of Art (Blacksticks, rated Moderate)