Three months ago, the Yorkshire Museum went viral when it challenged fellow museums to share the creepiest objects in their collections. Things got weird, fast.
Now, the small UK institution with outsize social-media influence has thrown down another gauntlet. And it’s decidedly… flashier.
For its weekly #CURATORBATTLE series in late June, the venue put out a call for the “Best Museum Bum.” Setting the example, they shared a picture of a Roman marble statuette depicting “an athlete at the peak of fitness.”
The butt? Decent, for sure. But then institutions around the world took a crack in an attempt to up the ante.
The results, predictably, were all over the board. For every fine fanny there was a heinous heinie. For every classy ass, a humble bum. For every cute glute—well, you get the idea.
A UK Abbey submitted a sensuous male nude with cushy tush by English artist William Etty, while the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford contributed a statue of Zeus bearing a behind befitting a god.
Others were cheekier. The Ukiyo-e Ōta Memorial Museum of Art in Japan weighed in with a Sumo rear courtesy of Hokusai and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma shared a bodacious Botero.
Others were just plain ASS-inine. A medieval bull relieving himself and a stooped-over trout with legs? Come on.
Well, we don’t want to be left behind. We think we’ve got to the bottom of it and this William Etty nude is the #BestMuseumBum pic.twitter.com/ExrNw2vzaE
— Anglesey Abbey (@AngleseyAbbeyNT) June 26, 2020
The Yorkshire Museum’s #CURATORBATTLE series has been a huge hit since it launched in March to foster a sense of community among shuttered arts and culture institutions. Previous challenges include calls for mysterious objects, best dogs, and interesting interiors.
This week’s (more modest) theme is “#TremendousTransport.”
Us, though, we’re still stuck on those derrières. See more funny buns below.
For today’s #CURATORBATTLE (or perhaps #CURATORREBUTTAL?) theme of #BestMuseumBum, we present Hercules knocking it out of the park…
A work by the goldsmith Francesco Pomarano, this boxwood statuette was already a celebrated piece in the #sixteenthcentury.#WallaceFromHome pic.twitter.com/3LoD6JkIOa
— Wallace Collection (@WallaceMuseum) June 26, 2020
How about these bums of SUMO wrestlers in our collections? These bums were painted by Hokusai!! #CURATORBATTLE #BestMuseumBum #おうちで浮世絵 pic.twitter.com/DH4rAyQ8Xs
— 太田記念美術館 Ota Memorial Museum of Art (@ukiyoeota) June 26, 2020
Zeus’s bottom is always a real crowd-pleaser, too. This bronze cast of a statue of the Greek god dates back to c.470 BC, and is about 2 metres tall #CURATORBATTLE pic.twitter.com/t8TNdhwvhD
— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) June 26, 2020
Another #CURATORBATTLE Etty for #BestMuseumBum today, this time ‘Man Lying Face Down’.
We like to think he’s just been to the freezer and realised he ate the last Cornetto last night. And that he can’t get the drawer back in and that the whole freezer needs defrosting ☀️ pic.twitter.com/7pJ9gfTVdN
— Scarborough Museums (@SMTrust) June 26, 2020
From the Huddersfield Art Gallery collection, we give you this painting by Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929). It’s titled ‘The Blue Jacket’ because that’s obviously what the artist was focusing on… #BestMuseumBum #CURATORBATTLE pic.twitter.com/hmgBwjFvwV
— Hudds Art Gallery (@HuddsArtGallery) June 26, 2020
Rugby Changing Room, Carmarthen by Ken Etheridge (1959)#CuratorBattle pic.twitter.com/kLywma8HUY
— World Rugby Museum (@wrugbymuseum) June 26, 2020
No shortage of #BestMuseumBum options from the Gardens of Castle Howard. #CURATORBATTLE pic.twitter.com/CUwLTjuR6x
— Castle Howard (@CastleHowardEst) June 26, 2020
In honour of our new most popular tweet here are some of our other #BestMuseumBum(s) that were on our shortlist. 🍑 (a thread)
This cracker is from the #AberdeenBestiary, who doesn’t love a weaponised bum? (MS 24 f12r) 🐂💩 pic.twitter.com/bmjCprvMWt
— Aberdeen Uni Museums and Special Collections (@uoacollections) June 29, 2020
Our Arctic Wolf taxidermy has a very.. realistic bum.#BestMuseumBum? 😬 pic.twitter.com/sJ0geqELdS
— Brandon General Museum & Archives (@TheBGMA) June 26, 2020
Oooh cheeky! This rear view snap of Frederic Leighton’s The Sluggard is absolutely peach perfect, don’t you think?
We love Fridays because #CuratorBattle 💥#BestMuseumBum #MuseumBums 🍑 pic.twitter.com/dv0KogX7tk
— Victoria Gallery & Museum (@VictoriaGallery) June 26, 2020
We raise your athlete and instead give you the bum of a drunken fish. Yes you heard me.
Made by Pamela Mei Yee Leung, it was part of a body of work which married animals and humans together to create mythological creatures with personalities. #BestMuseumBum #CuratorBattle pic.twitter.com/qUAa3NgGcG
— York Art Gallery (@YorkArtGallery) June 26, 2020
#BestMuseumBum #CuratorBattle @YorkshireMuseum
Throughout her life, Meila Kairiūkštytė-Balkus was interested in the topic of femininity, which is reflected in her work “Elena I”. Her sculptures are naturalistic, seeking to convey real rather than idealized forms of a woman. pic.twitter.com/QJfmB9gg9z
— M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art (@CiurlionisMus) July 1, 2020