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Title:The Curated Object: Decorative Arts & Design Exhibition Guide + Educational Resource
Description:The Curated Object: A Critical Educational Resource and Decorative Arts & Design Exhibition Guide
Keywords:Curated Object, Journal, Design, Decorative Arts, Exhibitions, museums, philosophy, museum exhibition, design exhibition, Decorative Art Blog, Design Exhibitions, Design News, Design, Graphic Design, Fashion exhibitions
The Curated Object: Decorative Arts Design Exhibition Guide + Educational Resource
The Curated Object: Decorative Arts Design Exhibition Guide + Educational Resource
鈥淭he Curated Object will become an important resource for collectors, designers, journalists, and enthusiasts from across the spectrum of design. At last, the design world will have its own clock.鈥-
ELLEN LUPTON, Cooper-Hewitt Curator, Design Journalist, Writer, Critic and Proprietor of DESIGN, WRITING, RESEARCH
Find an exhibition and GO!
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Sometimes whispering and other times shouting, objects have their own time and cadence. The Curated Object is interested in the exhibition of objects and those who find our engagement with them compelling. Objects act out all the time and revolt against us. Listening carefully is our quest.
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Object is a Noun and Verb
From the Randolph County Museum
quot;The archive has always been a pledge, and like every pledge, a token of the future. To put it more trivially: what is no longer archived in the same way is no longer lived in the same way. Archivable meaning is also and in advance codetermined by the structure that archives quot; -- Archive Fever, A Freudian Impression, by Jacques Derrida
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Close Up Personal: A Conversation with Gregory Adamson and 18th Century Gold Boxes From the Rosalinde Arthur Gilbert Collection at LACMA. The Curated Object
Close Up amp; Personal: A Conversation with Gregory Adamson and 18th Century Gold Boxes From the Rosalinde amp; Arthur Gilbert Collectio at LACMA
By Miranda G. Nesler
September 6, 2014-March 1, 2015
The selection of 28 snuffboxes drawn from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection has been touted by the museum as a strong example of 鈥渃aptivating detail and astonishing craftsmanship鈥 with 鈥渆ternal appeal.鈥 #0160; Ranging from jewel-encrusted and ornate to smoothly painted and monochromatic, the boxes certainly function as markers of their previous owners鈥 social status. #0160; Whether pulled from a pocket or tossed upon a table, snuffboxes during the eighteenth century were luxury accessories both because of the expensive powder they held within, as well for as the meticulous ornamentation that marked them without.
In visiting the exhibit, it is striking how easily one could pass by without knowing it existed. Sandwiched between antiquities from Egypt on the one side and European paintings from the seventeenth century on the other, 鈥淐lose-Up amp; Personal鈥 gives visitors little overt invitation to notice much less interact with its contents as they walk among noticeably grander pieces.
Yet when visitors do take the opportunity to stop in the passageway housing the exhibit, and when they pick up the available magnifying glasses to examine these priceless objects of personal and household ornamentation, they will find that the boxes prove magnificent. Their meticulous detail and luxurious material raise questions about the lines dividing objects of functional design from objet d鈥檃rt. #0160; For me, these questions were best explored in the company of Gregory Adamson, an artist specializing in large-scale, live-action portrait painting.
Photo by Jason Yu
Miranda Nesler: Greg, I鈥檓 so glad you could join me. When we first discussed the possibility of working together, I doubt this was the kind of exhibit you anticipated! But for me, there was something about the contrast between the scale of work like this compared to yours that seemed beneficial. I鈥檓 hoping the juxtaposition helps us to see new things.
Gregory Adamson: I鈥檓 happy to be here, and thank you for inviting me to participate in your project.
MGN: As an artist walking into an exhibit like this one, what first comes to your mind?
GA: A fascination with how someone creates a piece like this. Just look at the detail here. [gestures with magnifier to a snuffbox with hunt scenes, c. 1777 (L.2014.6.4)].
Photo by Jason Yu
MGN: #0160; So you鈥檙e immediately curious about the practical and productive side of the pieces鈥攄rawn to questions about creative origin?
GA: Definitely. It鈥檚 in part because knowledge of what it takes to create something like this is a bit out of my lane鈥擨鈥檓 a painter dealing with large canvasses. But I鈥檝e also always been a bit interested in craftsmanship and DIY projects, so I have some sense of the intricacy and fine detail that goes into a piece like this. The brushes could only have, probably, one or two fine hairs. Whoever made them would have had to use magnification.
MGN: Glass making would have come far enough by the eighteenth century. They would have had access to those tools. #0160; You look fascinated by that piece now [Turns to Basket Shaped Snuffbox, c. 1775 (L.2014.6.25)].
Photo courtesy of LACMA
#0160;GA: I am. It has such amazing depth and texture to it, especially under the magnifying glass. You can see the ones with painted figures like this and wonder: did the same artist who painted these images also do the jewelry work or box making? How many artisans were working together?
MGN: It鈥檚 interesting, the question of individual artist versus collaborative group. I鈥檓 also intrigued by your use of the word 鈥渁rtisans鈥 versus 鈥渁rtists.鈥 When you look at work like this鈥攁s a collection or in individual pieces鈥攚here do you place it when you consider categories of 鈥渇ine arts鈥 versus 鈥渃rafts鈥 versus 鈥渇unctional objects鈥?
GA: With these particular boxes, there鈥檚 a marriage happening between functionality and fine arts. 鈥淔ine art鈥 is a difficult term for me, particularly since people seem to have their own definitions. #0160; The more academic people are about viewing art, coming from an institutional or academic setting, for example, I think the more esoteric are their requirements for something to reach the level of fine art. On the other hand, some of the 鈥渓ess refined鈥 among us, all the way down to the larger groups who count Thomas Kinkade as art, might have different requirements. What troubles me is who makes that call and what characterizes that person鈥檚 exposure to art. Your definition of 鈥渇ine art鈥 will be determined by your level and breadth of exposure. Some people will operate in a simpler or narrower range than people who have spent time to educate themselves. But, then again, does that mean that the people with more exposure or more knowledge have better taste? Does that mean that those people should be able to make those determinations?
Photo by Jason Yu
MGN: To this, I think, we can add questions like 鈥渨hat constitutes more exposure?鈥 Someone academic might have greater exposure to a narrower number of styles, whereas someone with exposure to classical arts as well as street art or pop art might count as more 鈥渆ducated鈥 because of breadth.
GA: When you鈥檝e spent time educating yourself in any way, you can find similarities and repetitions across media and styles. It also starts to skew your sensibilities and build categories regarding what fits and what doesn鈥檛. You start to say, 鈥渢his isn鈥檛 art to me.鈥 For me, I look at fine art from the standpoint of how complete the design is. #0160; Does it show unity, balance, dominance鈥攑articipation in all of those features of design? How does it utilize tools like line, shape, color, or texture in its creation? Where does it fit in craftsmanship versus art, with craft being about execution while art functions as an idea. #0160; When you have someone only with great skill in execution, you have a craftsman; when you add to that an idea, something new and innovative at its root, that鈥檚 when, for me, you start to reach fine art.
MGN: That connects to one of your first comments about these boxes being a marriage of functionality and fine art. Someone else might say, academically, that fine art is defined by a certain kind of medium or execution within that traditional, recognizable medium. For you, it sounds like something that predates media in the sense that there鈥檚 a root idea that draws on but develops beyond tradition. But that idea isn鈥檛 enough, and there has to be excellence in physical execution. You have to have physical training and knowledge that reaches beyond the academic.
GA: Yes. Although nothing鈥檚 ever black and white, because you can have something created by someone with no training or education, but that work shows an incredible imagination and has an idea. Sometimes the raw and the primitive can be stunning. It can defy expectation in a jarring way and, with that kind of honesty, it can draw you to the idea so you have a physical or emotional reaction. Sometimes these surprise me the most because they give me something I鈥檝e never seen before. One of my art mentors looks for something he hasn鈥檛 seen before, whether in his own work or in someone else鈥檚. Another of my mentors says that good art provides beauty and truth. But that raises the question of whether fine art or important art can be ugly, or whether it can cover truth. #0160;
MGN: So then viewer perception comes into play. Truth might be truth, but ideals of beauty can be publically shaped or shift over time. Linking this idea to boxes like these, how do you see art being performative or public in crucial ways? What role does public versus private play in your art compared to some of the pieces we see here?
GA: My art is all about the public because, as much as I can, I paint in front of the public. But art isn鈥檛 necessarily public. It can be something you can create without a thought to discovery. There have been circumstances where someone has created alone and placed that work away; then, years later, we discover it and appreciate the artistic value of ideas and execution even though it hadn鈥檛 been intended for us.
MGN: At what point are those pieces art? Is it art when it was tucked away in secret? Or does it transform to art when someone sees it, values it, and then uses the term 鈥渁rt鈥?
GA: If a tree falls in a forest鈥
MGN: It鈥檚 relevant to an exhibit like this. To what extent would someone commissioned to make a snuffbox like this see it as art? #0160;
GA: Oh, they definitely would. #0160; Each of these boxes conveys deeper ideas鈥攁bout class, identity, political stature, relationships. They draw on older traditions or styles to say something new. There are those root concepts that tie the boxes to meaning just like any 鈥渇ine art鈥 like oil painting or sculpture. #0160; These artists had to feel every bit as attached to their work as I feel to mine. Look at how meticulous it is. When you create something with so much care, you put your heart, and soul, and mind into it. #0160; You鈥檙e giving birth, and it鈥檚 coming from inside your brain and as a product of your hands; by the time you finish, you have so much emotional and physical energy tied up in it. It鈥檚 part of you. For me, when I get invited to deliver paintings from events, or when I get invited to the homes of people who purchased my work, it鈥檚 exciting to see where it is. It鈥檚 like visiting one of my kids. It鈥檚 a sense of joy to visit. #0160;
MGN: Does it ever surprise you to see the circumstances of how the paintings are hung or how they鈥檙e displayed?
GA: It does. It always surprises me who the people are, why they chose the piece, where they want it to go. I鈥檓 surprised by the places; some are big, stunning estates, and some are condos. #0160; Some people say, 鈥淚鈥檇 love to have that, but I don鈥檛 have a wall big enough.鈥 Some people say, 鈥淚 will make the wall space, even if it becomes the wall.鈥 Where the piece goes is all part of a statement people are trying to make. It can be a very big statement. It can be a love of my work, it can be a love of the subject. The painting can make that statement for them.
MGN: So for you, given your experience, these boxes aren鈥檛 just examples of craftsmen responding to an order. And they鈥檙e not 鈥渏ust鈥 functional pieces of design. These are pieces of art created by artists?
GA: Certainly. Each one of these, even the ones that look similar or participate in a style, shows the individual sensibilities of its creator. Take this one here --- oh, I really like this one 鈥 it shows this lone rider on a horse, and it鈥檚 so classical. But look at the color. That鈥檚 bold. That sets it apart. Judicious use of color makes it important, and the artist knows this. And the tremendous depth achieved in so little color shows mastery. And look at this one; this one makes my eyes bleed. It鈥檚 such an ambitious scene, especially in that tiny scale. With the magnifier they鈥檙e just amazing. [Examines Bonbonni猫re with Peter the Great, c. 1782 (L.2014.6.31)].
Photo courtesy of LACMA
MGN: Circling back to the public question, I think the issue of the magnifier is important to point out. Most of the people who would have experienced these in their own time wouldn鈥檛 have had a magnifier. For them, the boxes would be pulled out of pockets or tossed onto tables. The artist magnified, and we do, but that changes things. Walking through this exhibit, how do you see that issue of context coming into play?
GA: If someone had that in her home on a coffee table, I鈥檇 glance. I鈥檇 maybe pick it up and admire it. But would I consider it art? Would I realize its historical or economic value? Probably not. The goal of a curator or a museum is to guide us toward that understanding. But it鈥檚 also what they find valuable or want to convince us is valuable. #0160;
MGN: This brings us again back to perception and the roles of contexts like time and space. How does a piece鈥檚 origin in a further past, or how does its placement in a certain space, affect whether we view it as 鈥渁rt鈥?
GA: Recently Bansky did an exhibit in New York, and people were paying millions for his work; but he also had some street side pop-ups where smaller pieces of his original work were being sold at low prices, around $10. People were just walking by. It鈥檚 brilliant. It鈥檚 similar to when you hear of a world-class musician playing concertos in a mass transit station; a man who people pay hundreds to see at Carnegie is playing a Stratovarius, and people walk by ignoring it or tossing change into his violin case because it鈥檚 out of context.
MGN: Clearly the curators believe these boxes are important, whether as art or artifact, since they are displaying them at LACMA. On the small scale, the exhibit helps us to appreciate the boxes themselves for their individual detail. What about the larger scale? How does the exhibit鈥檚 placement in the museum itself affect our view? We have oil paintings from Europe on one side, and antiquities from Africa on the other.
GA: It鈥檚 oddly sandwiched. Time-wise on one side things seem connected. On the other? I don鈥檛 know if they鈥檙e trying to tell us something with the gap. Maybe they had no other space? Maybe they had space to fill? #0160; Honestly, if we hadn鈥檛 been meeting here, I wouldn鈥檛 have stopped or spent time here. It鈥檚 not really in my line; and the scale of these pieces with such limited markers allows you to walk right by. #0160; It鈥檚 a shame since the workmanship, and value, and beauty of them is very real. I would鈥檝e gone straight to the Rembrandt right there.
MGN: It is more obviously in line with the work you do.
GA: Yes. With these, though鈥鈥檓 always fascinated by people who create tiny, minute things, and about the processes they use. Why do people do it? #0160;
MGN: So what led you to doing large-scale work? How do you balance the commercial and the commissioned with the artistic desire you have?
GA: I can鈥檛 sit and tickle something. I actually can鈥檛 sit at all when I paint. I need something with a lot of physical movement and energy in it 鈥 in the process and the subject. I want the speed and movement of it. #0160;
MGN: You were talking about how the craftsmen and artists of the boxes probably had a relationship to their work that resembles yours. And I think it鈥檚 striking that just like they encountered their work as functional, moveable art that was worn and used, you鈥檙e considering yours that way when you think of its production or you show interest in the places where it鈥檚 displayed. It鈥檚 not just a large painting on a wall. It also lives, moves, breathes, communicates about more than you. These pieces and yours let the artists and the owners speak. The boxes are the opposite scale, but they鈥檙e tied to your work despite that. It seems to muddy the line between simply 鈥渇unctional design鈥 and 鈥渇ine art.鈥
GA: It鈥檚 a hard line to draw. #0160;
MGN: One that won鈥檛 be drawn today, I don鈥檛 think! I鈥檓 so glad to have had a chance to try, though鈥攁nd gladder that the conversation resulted in muddier waters rather than clear-cut answers. Thank you so much for joining me.
Gregory Adamson is a renowned Southern California artist who has gained domestic and international acclaim for his fast-paced performance art, in which he paints to music with bare hands or brushes, creating huge masterpieces in just minutes. His subject matter includes historical leaders, sports legends, music icons and other celebrities of pop culture. He has taken his 鈥楩acing the Music鈥 performance art from coast to coast and abroad, performing at concerts with major recording artists, and at regional and national political events. For more information, please visit:
#0160;鈥淐lose-Up amp; Personal: 18th Century Gold Boxes From the Rosalinde amp; Arthur Gilbert Collection鈥 will be on display at LACMA from September 6, 2014-March 1, 2015. For more information, visit: LACMA
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Exhibition Review Los Angeles. 鈥淭he Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design.鈥 FIDM Museum and Galleries. By Miranda Garno Nesler. The Curated Object.
Costumes from Downtown Abbey, courtesy of FIDM Museum amp; Galleries
The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design
#0160;July 22 - September 20
By Miranda G. Nesler #0160;
Curated by costume designer Mary Rose, this exhibit features one hundred costumes from twenty television shows garnering a total of ninety eight Emmy nominations for 2013-2014. Highlights include pieces from period dramas Downton Abbey (PBS) and Bonnie amp; Clyde (Lifetime). #0160;
Details from Downton Abbey, courtesy of FIDM Museum amp; Galleries
Pieces such as the Downton Abbey evening gowns worn by Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley and Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess Violet Crawley emphasize the work of wardrobe departments in recovering vintage beadwork, preserving it, and then giving new life to it by attaching it to freshly designed garments. #0160;
These garments also gesture to the functional difference between historical clothing and period costumes. For example, intricately restored details exist only around the actor鈥檚 face and upper body, revealing that the costumes are objects designed not for full-scale viewing in daily life but for camera close-ups and upper body shots during specifically lit dinner table scenes. In this sense, the exhibit uses its own physical space to take costumes out of their performative contexts in ways that question those objects鈥 roles as functional versus artistic pieces.
Costumes from Breaking Bad, courtesy of FIDM Museum amp; Galleries
That said, an exhibit of this size would benefit from more overt curatorial commentary. #0160; Despite the number of costumes on display, the broad range of television genres represented, and the sizeable physical space, 鈥淭he Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design鈥 does little to guide visitors on walking through or conceptualizing relationships among the individual displays. #0160; Visitors may reasonably wonder why historically-inspired pieces from The Sound of Music Live! (NBC) are positioned across from modern, off-the-rack collections from The Good Wife (CBS), Orange is the New Black (Netflix), and Breaking Bad (AMC). #0160; While critical reasoning might exist (for example, the idea that each show features a strong female character who struggles against a form of masculine social, political, or economic constraint), it also may not. Ultimately, the displays seem discrete in nature, tied only by the general celebration of popular television, celebrity, and those FIDM alumni who contributed towards the programs鈥 Emmy nominations.
For fans of the twenty featured television shows (the lists are available online and at the exhibit), 鈥淭he Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design鈥 delivers on its stated mission of 鈥渟aluting the work of this year鈥檚 Emmy nominated Costume Designers, Costume Supervisors, and Assistant Costume Designers.鈥 For FIDM students, alumni, and other individuals familiar with the work involved in those positions, the exhibit may even provide examples of strong work and inspiration for future projects. Individuals who sit outside or on the cusps of those categories, however, can walk through quickly and without gaining much new insight to the complex world of costume design. #0160;
For more information on this exhibit, please visit: FIDM #0160;
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Exhibitions Los Angeles. Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s. LACMA. The Curated Object
mage: Unknown, quot;M quot;, 1931, Germany, Lithograph printed in black, beige and red on wove paper mounted on linen, Dimensions: Image: 53 1/8 x 35 7/16 in. (134.94 x 90.01 cm); Sheet: 55 1/2 x 37 in. (140.97 x 93.98 cm), Gift of the Robert Gore Rifkind Collection, Beverly Hills, CA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies, M.2003.115.9.
Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s #0160;
21 September-26 April
Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s #0160;explores masterworks of German Expressionist cinema. From the stylized fantasy of #0160;The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari #0160;(dir. Robert Wiene, 1919) to the chilling murder mystery #0160;M #0160;(dir. Fritz Lang, 1931), cinema during the liberal Weimar era was innovative in aesthetic, psychological, and technical terms.
Organized by #0160;La #0160;Cin茅math猫que fran莽aise, Paris, the exhibition features over 150 drawings, as well as manuscripts, posters, and set models, the majority gathered by Lotte Eisner, #0160;German emigr茅e film historian and author of the pioneering 1952 text #0160;The #0160;Haunted Screen. Additional works come from the collections of LACMA鈥檚 Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies and from the archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. #0160;Kino Ektoplasma鈥攁 three-screen installation created for the exhibition by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson鈥攔esurrects lost films of the Expressionist era in mesmerizing film sequences. The exhibition was designed by Amy Murphy and Michael Maltzan with Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.
For more information please visit: LACMA
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Exhibitions Toronto. Cairo Under Wraps: Early Islamic Textiles. Royal Ontario Museum. The Curated Object
Tall-necked saucer lamp Oil lamps were made using several different parts. Spout and handle were attached to the bowl containing the oil, and the part covering the bowl was probably also made separately. Together with the tall flaring neck, it protected the oil from spilling and impurities. This lamp is covered in light green glaze with added splashes of purple. Its most interesting aspect, however, is the second spout that would allow the lamp to shed more light. Earthenware, thrown, modeled and glazed, with splashes Egypt, c. 1100 908.21.24
Tall-necked lamp with feline handle Glaze did not completely oust moulded decoration but forced it to become larger and more visible. Several knobs were applied to this lamp and the neck was crenellated making the opening look like a flower. Giving the handle the shape of an upright standing feline recalls many small animal figures made of bronze that were popular in the Fatimid period. Earthenware, thrown, modeled and glazed Egypt, c. 975-1075 908.21.17
Filter for a water jug Zigzag lines carved into the borders and dividers of filters are seen as hallmarks of Fatimid production. In this case, they can be found on all the stabilising dividers. Two of the perforated areas have a geometric design which can be read as a stylised flower. Pottery, unglazed Egypt, 11th century 947.46.11
Tiraz fragment with hares The background of the kufic inscription flanking the decorative band shows the formation of arabesque designs in the spaces between the tall vertical letters. The interlocking medallions of the inner band contain hares and the outer bands contain spotted winged quadrupeds. Linen tabby with silk tapestry Egypt, mid-11th century 970.117.2
Cairo Under Wraps: Early Islamic Textiles (including everyday objects)
21 June 21- 25 January 2015
Almost 80 precious Early Islamic textiles dating from the 7th to 14th centuries 鈥 including rare examples of clothing 鈥 are featured in this original exhibition of ROM material. The decoration on these textiles mainly consists of Arabic inscriptions, often invoking Allah and naming the ruler. #0160;Many of these items were intended for the royal household. Some of the earliest pieces were collected by C.T. Currelly, the founding director of the Royal Ontario Museum, and are thus especially appropriate to show in our centennial year. Complementary material in other media (ceramics, glass, metalwork, coins, etc.) has been selected from the ROM鈥檚 #0160;collection of Islamic art. The exhibition shares the #0160;Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles amp; Costume #0160;with #0160;Fashion Follows Form.
More textiles from this collection are on display at the #0160;Aga Khan Museum, opening September 12, 2014.
For more information please visit; The Royal Ontario Museum #0160;
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Exhibitions Bergen, Norway. The Needle's Eye. Contemporary Embroidery. KODE Museums. The Curated Object
Flore Gardner: Chiasmus. Broderi p氓 fotografi, 2013.
Embroidered works from Contemporary Art.
10 October - 4 January 2015
Recently a new interest in material-based art and hand-crafting techniques has emerged in contemporary art, and embroidery has gained new relevance. Embroidered contemporary art relates both to the social history of embroidery and to the nature of the medium itself, for instance that it is both an activity and a process.
What does it mean to embroider today 鈥 and what does the new interest in embroidery tell about the era in which we live? Through a large selection of works by Norwegian and international contemporary artists, plus selected older works from the collections, the exhibition #0160;The Needle #39;s Eye: Contemporary Embroidery #0160;looks into these questions, addressing themes such as materiality, tradition, story-telling, gender, power and status, and time and memory.
The represented artists include Regien Cox, Gunvor Nervold Antonsen, Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Hans Hamid Rasmussen, Flore Gardner, Lars Sture, Erik Hellsten, Kimsooja, Orly Cogan, Siri Ensrud, Kristine Fornes, Maurizio Anzieri, Susan Collis, Jochen Flinzer, Elana Herzog, Anna von Mertens, Nava Lubelski and others.
The Needle #39;s Eye #0160;is produced through collaboration between KODE and the National Museum of art, Architecture and Design.
Curator in Bergen: Frode Sandvik and Anne Britt Ylvis氓ker.
For more information please visit the KODE Museums
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