"PEM's vast storage is like the museum's subconscious." -- Marianne Mueller


On view March 26, 2011 to December 31, 2011

SALEM, MA -- Swiss contemporary artist Marianne Mueller wants to show you a different kind of museum. Opening at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) later this month, her installation Any House Is a Home will combine the artist's own photography and video with selected examples of historic photographs, furniture, shoes, mirrors and glass. Mueller arranges these objects (297 in all) in unexpected and provocative ways, casting new light on lesser-seen corners of PEM's collection.

For Mueller, exploring combinations of images and objects is as important as taking a photograph, shooting video, or building something new. The juxtapositions inspire new ways of looking at things that seem familiar but take on a new presence when shown in a different context. Mueller's intention is to liberate objects from traditional chronologies and categorizations, inviting viewers to take them as they appear.

"I want to show everything with the same measure of distance and closeness, whether it is a human being or an object, skin or glass. Every image should have the same intensity. Thus my archive becomes a democracy of images, closer to the dynamics of poetry than the strictures of the novel," said Mueller.

And then there's the monument - a massive two-story architectural structure designed in collaboration with the artist by Los Angeles firm, Johnston Marklee and covered with photographs from the Peabody Essex collection and Mueller's own ever-growing archive.

"If we've done our job right, visitors will one day tell their grandchildren about that time when the gallery was completely transformed by a Swiss artist who took hidden treasures out of storage, painted the walls in 21 vibrant bands of color, and built a tower of pictures rising out of the floor," said Phillip Prodger, Curator of Photography at PEM. "It's a completely fresh approach to exhibitions at PEM. Through FreePort we're able to work between departments to find the common threads that make the museum sing."

Marianne Mueller's Any House Is a Home is the second project in PEM's FreePort contemporary art initiative. FreePort invites some of the most provocative artists working today to interact with PEM's 212-year-old collection and create a dialogue with its collection and its audiences.


Man Ray | Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism

June 11, 2011 to December 4, 2011

PETER HUTTON: FREEPORT [No. 004], September, 2011


Support provided by the FreePort Fund and the East India Marine Associates (EIMA) of the Peabody Essex Museum.


The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collection, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of special exhibitions and a hands?on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200?year?old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.

HOURS: Open Tuesday?Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am?5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866?745?1876 or visit our website at


PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

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