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Ashburton Art Gallery

327 West St

Ashburton | 7700

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Open Daily: 10am - 4pm

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Art Ain’t For Grown-Ups No More with MUKA

October 30, 2015

Interview with Gérard Goodrow about the MUKA Prints show at KunstKöln for the lifestyle magazine

Art Ain’t For Grown-Ups No More MUKA Print Presents Contemporary Art For Kids Only “I know exactly what I want to have,” says Five-year old Anatole after visiting the booth of MUKA Prints, a special contemporary art project that is only open for children five to 18 years of age, at this years Kunst Köln art fair in Cologne. Meanwhile, his mother, Divna Omaljev, who happens to be an artist herself, is pumping him for information on the artworks he saw at the show: “Did you see pieces with cherries, strawberries or any fruit at all?” – knowing it could potentially be a valuable piece by esteemed artist Karin Kneffel. But Anatole is sticking to his guns and actually buys the print he likes. Which makes MUKA Prints so outstanding: the limited editions, some of which were created by well-known artists, are presented in a closed-in, separate booth at the fair. No adults are permitted in and neither are cell phones to haul-in adult advice. The young buyers have to rely on their gut-feeling entirely, since the prints are also sold anonymously. The name of the respective artist is only revealed after purchasing and picking up the artwork at the end of the art fair. And that is also what inspired 15-year old Christina Gülker to find her first very own work of art: “Well, it is an original artwork which may or may not be valuable in the future. But I don’t care, I wanted to buy what I really like.” Her six-year old brother Niklas is upset, because he never made it to the show and lets us know what sparked his interest: “Art isn’t just for grown-ups anymore.” A perfect reason for the director of the Cologne art fairs, Gérard A. Goodrow for initiating the MUKA Prints presentation at the Kunst Köln. He tells us why:
KW: “Why would you want to include a gallery show only for kids at a serious art fair like Kunst Köln?”

GG: “Because we take art seriously and like no other art fair try to reach out to a younger audience to get them interested in the excitement of seeing, buying and collecting art.”

KW: “So what was the MUKA Prints show like, what did you see there?”

GG: “Well, that’s hard to say, because even I wasn’t allowed in!” (Smirks). “But let me tell you how it works: Kids go in unaccompanied and check out the art uninfluenced by parents and teachers or big artist’s names and choose what they really like. They can purchase up to three prints for 35 Euro each and pick them up after the art fair, when the artist’s name is undisclosed. But there’s a catch: they can only go in once, they can’t give the artwork as a gift to anybody and if they’ll sell the piece later on, the artist gets 50 percent of the sale.”

KW: “So who are the artists?”

GG: “MUKA Prints has editions by numerous well-know and not yet well-known artists from all over the world. For example works by Michael Kvium (Denmark) , Rosemarie Trockel, Max Neumann, Peter Bommels (Germany), Henk Visch, (The Netherlands), Luc Tuymans (Belgium) and others from the USA, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia.”

KW: “But are we talking about significant sales by the standards of an art fair?”

GG: “Absolutely: 467 lithographs were sold, two prints were sold out and we had at least a thousand people that went into the booth, it might have been many more.”

KW: “Which leads to the question: Is this a new concept and are we going to see it in Cologne again?”

GG: “The project was started by the couple of Frans Baetens and Magda Van Gils in 1987 in Auckland, New Zealand after they found their nine and ten year old daughters unusually interested in the parents’ work at an art-printing workshop. Their first exhibit for kids at a local museum was so successful that they started to do shows at 30 different places all over the world every year. Since then, more than 60.000 Prints found a place in very young collections. I can only say, I can’t wait to see them coming back to Cologne again.”

KW: “What fascinated you so profoundly to invite MUKA Prints to the Kunst Köln?

GG: “It really introduces contemporary art into the world of these young people. There’s no over-educated, pseudo-intellectualized approach to looking at art and collecting it. It is all about the love for art as such and the excitement of actually owning it. And I truly believe that’s what Kunst Köln is about as well: To educate our audiences and to draw in a new crowd of young art enthusiasts. When Magda came and asked us to have a MUKA Prints show as a special exhibit at the art fair, I said yes immediately. And this was the first time they ever showed at an art fair.”

KW: “Basically: The passion for art comes first and the market-value second?”

GG: “To us, this is paramount: though an art fair of course is also about sales, it just has to be about the inherent values of the art as well. A lot of art collectors purchase art like purchasing shares at the stock market which is fine by me. But contemporary art can be so much more. It is exhilarating, inspiring, uplifting, stimulating. And the fact that at the end of the day, the print bought by a 5-year old today might be a very valuable piece 15 years from now is just an add-on, an additional perk.” Our buddy Anatole would sure agree….