Monday, September 19, 2011

Museum of Dangerous Art

A façade of steel plates and heavy bolts with a thick, round door, at home on a vault or boiler room, isn't what one expects from an art gallery, but then the City's Museum of Dangerous Art (Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Godsday noon to 6 p.; Admission 25 cents; free on Loonsday) isn't the usual sort of gallery.

The anonymous group of prominent collectors (rumored to have been the shadowy cabal called the Unknown), whose sponsorship made the museum possible, are presumed to have had two goals: one was to encourage the appreciation and study of thaumaturgical artworks, and the other was to imprison these works where they can do the least harm. The collection includes paintings, sculpture, illustration, handcrafts, and film; the only requirements are that a work has some aesthetic purpose--and that it’s potentially harmful.

All of the art exhibited is placed behind wards or otherwise neutralized so that viewing them is not dangerous.  Patrons are reminded not to touch the art.

Here's a small sampling of the art in the collection:

Still [sic] Life
Title only given on typed card attached to frame.
Media: Oil on canvas.  Artist: Unknown, but believed to be van Snood.
Desc.: A bowl of decayed fruit which returns to freshness as the painting drains life from a victim (causes energy drain per hour like a hit from a wight).

Old Hag Quilt
Media: Hand-stiched fabric. Artists: A witches coven in the western Smaragdines.
Desc.: Appliqués in black and white show the successive phases of the moon interspersed with a nightscape where a female figure appears then moves to the forefront of the image.  The last square reveals her face to be a skull.  The quilt causes nightmares in anyone who uses it.  After a fortnight, a hag crawls from beneath the quilt.

Abode of Demons
Media: Marble. Artist: Unknown.
Desc.: A statue of male figure whose open cloak revealed distorted, demonic faces.  It's unclear what the activating mechanism is, but for every hour of darkness (sunset to sunrise) the statue is activated, 1d4 shadows emerge from inside the cloak.

Other malign works exhibited include the Damnation Photo, the Recursive Horrror, Grasping Hands, and Summer Daisies and the dreaded Sunny Day in Crayon (Queenie, age 4).


Needles said...

Creepy & evcocative, there are at least nine or ten adventure hooks here!

Bard said...

Man, I have to stop reading this right before going to bed at night...

My own, now inevitable, nightmares notwithstanding, I especially love the Old Hag Quilt.

Trey said...

@Needles - Thanks! That was the aim.

@Bard - Just don't add any extra cover to the bed. ;)

Porky said...

The Old Hag Quilt is certainly disturbing. I'm intrigued by Sunny Day in Crayon too, and that especially shows the fine touch. This is all very well done though. I like how these City posts feel condensed, as if they've long been soaking up the mood.

Anonymous said...

Wanted: Night Watchman. Must own own weapon(s). Knowledge of exorcism required. No time wasters please.

Trey said...

@Porky - Thanks!

@seaofstarsrpg - Heh. Awesome. :)