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David Guttenfelder seems to get into North Korea and take pictures there more than anyone else, but what are you allowed to take pictures of in North Korea?

When Guttenfelder isn’t attending any official event, he improvises. He may have invented an art form in North Korea — artifact photography. He snaps bunches of plastic flowers in a hotel room, dinner menus, concert programs and labels them as “artifacts,” numbered.

No wonder he is involved with a new artifact museum, mmuseumm, which features the kooky things people collect.

Consider Toothpaste Tubes from Around the World, collected by Tucker Viemeister.  Says Viemeister, “Although I come from a ‘Crest family,’ I got my first tube of foreign toothpaste in Finland in 1985. We were shopping for normal stuff (Marimekko and toiletries). I saw a tube of toothpaste that’s [got a] name as long as the tube! They have long words in Finland.

“As I traveled around, I’d sample the toothpaste around the world. It was fun to buy and fit easily in my bag. Meanwhile it was an easy gift!

“I noticed that toothpaste is a universal media for indigenous people – a veritable blank canvas — both graphics on the generic tube and the flavors of the paste. French brands are more gourmet, Asian is more fruity, while American is very sharp (it this stereotyping?).” More here.

The museum is in Cortlandt Alley between Franklin St. and White St. in Manhattan.

(I wonder if my collection of wooden thread spools is extensive enough for a museum. I am afraid I lost the varied European toilet papers I collected on a trip at age 15.)

 

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