Hove Museum and Art Gallery

So, I was under the impression Brighton doesn't have a great deal to offer in the way of art galleries, though I do have a soft spot for both the Booth Museum, with its weird and wonderful collection of natural history artefacts, and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (in Pavillion Gardens).

However, it would stand to reason that, given its size and the number of artists living in the city, Brighton might have more exciting galleries to actually display a decent amount of the art it produces. Instead it seems a lot can be found seasonally at festivals and graduate exhibitions at Brighton University with its high profile arts degrees.

I may be wrong about all this - please do tell me if I'm missing something! In the meantime, I am not prepared to wait until the summer to see some art/intriguing objects, and I already went to Brighton Museum and Art Gallery last weekend. I am too poor for London adventures at the moment, and so opted for an afternoon jaunt to Hove Museum and Art Gallery with my boyfriend's little sister (herself a very talented artist - see

The main appeal of this trip was, admittedly, the fact that admission is free, it's within walking distance and, wait for it - there's an extensive toy collection in a place named Wizard's Attic! Given my toy obsession, which seems to be getting worse despite getting further and further away from a socially acceptable age to be playing with toys, I couldn't actually resist. Just look at these!

There were also history and film sections which featured some lovely imagery, including some from Hove's quaint seaside town past.

I am going to make it my mission to visit Brighton Toy Museum soon, though it actually costs money to go there and I have certain faraway friends who would probably love it so may wait until I have the excuse of an enthusiastic visitor.

Next week I shall be reunited with my Blythe doll and all will be right with the world.

Goodnight, wizard.

Mui-Chan and the Smoking Elephant

Having been sent home from work early today due to the 'severe weather conditions' (i.e. snow) disrupting all transport ever, I ended up scouring the internet for unaffordable toys. I was reminded of the brilliant Mui-Chan by iXTEE, with her bizarrely asymmetrical facial expression which lends itself so well to lively photographs (lively for an inanimate object anyway. I'd like to see a stop-motion animation featuring Mui-Chan so if you're in the business for such things I hope you'll consider it!)

I am missing my Blythe doll, Miss Sally Rice, from whom I have been separated temporarily (I will add a photo of her when we are reunited! She has blue/green hair and four eye colour options. ^-^)

Fellow Japanophile Alice Urbino has introduced me to the Puchi Puchi Edamame Soybean keyring, an object of inexplicable yet somehow reassuring appeal. Surely the world can't be such a bad place when people play gleefully with plastic peas in a pod with faces which are advertised in the manner shown below? Okay, my argument is flawed, I admit it, but please enjoy the video at your leisure.

I am also reminiscing about Taipei Toy Festival, which I attended in summer 2008. Held at the Core Pacific City Living Mall, whose concept is based on a death star. Yes, it's a mall. Architecturally based on a death star. Oh, I miss Taiwan.

The toy festival itself featured everything from the increasingly popular Tokidoki range by Simone Legno to a lowlife elephant covered in blood and smoking out of its tusk hole. The impossibly cute fighting cats (see top and bottom of the post) were probably my favourites. I took quite a lot of photos but will resist posting them all here...

By the way, apologies for not crediting the photos of Mui-Chan and Core Pacific Living Mall - I forgot to take note of where I found them so if you can enlighten me then please do so. I will credit or remove them if necessary. All other photos are my own.

Ghost in the Machine's Top Five Exhibitions of the Decade

Ghost in the Machine can't speak for all the exhibitions this decade of course, but our favourites were (in chronological order...)

Disguise, Manchester Art Gallery (Spring/Summer 2004) Featuring the works of Leigh Bowery, Fergus Greer and Cindy Sherman among others, on the theme of disguise and questioning identity. There was even a dressing up box so you could have a go yourself!

FRAC Centre Exhibition, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (Summer 2008)
Including some astounding works from the 1960s European radical architecture movement.

Annette Messager's The Messengers at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (September 2008)
Covering four decades of work by the fantastical French artist.

The Black Page at Shandy Hall, Coxwold (September 2009)
Featuring work by 73 key artists/writers recreating page 73 of Laurence Sterne's highly influential 1759 novel Tristram Shandy - a black page marking the death of one of the characters.

And the not-specific-to-this-decade, wonderfully creepy collection of taxidermy, fossils and skeletons at the Booth Museum, Brighton.

I have to admit I may have forgotten some important exhibitions from the beginning of the decade when I was merely 15. But I am now anal enough to keep a list of all my shows visited, books read, films watched, bands seen etc. Next year I should have a more accurate list of favourites, and it will cover only one year rather than ten (so hard to choose...)

Here's to another decade of seeking out exciting artwork nationally and internationally... let us know if there's anything you think we should see.

Happy New Year!