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The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities opens on November 7, 2014

A MUSEUM of rare and priceless marvels of the natural and scientific worlds, from Dodo Bones to specula, to the intriguing beauty of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys; from old master etchings to mad women’s doodles; from two-headed kittens to living coral …

Viktor Wynd launched his Little Shop of Horrors onto an at once expectant and grateful public in 2009. Hovering halfway between theatre and sculpture, shop and museum, academic institution and art gallery, it is, like its founder, both an installation and a performance.

The Shop was just one of many elements of Wynd’s remarkable social sculpture, The Last Tuesday Society, an organisation that currently boasts some 18,000 members, sells over 13,000 tickets a year to a veritable feast of experiences and productions – events that range from evenings of loss to literary salons and masked balls – and has over 3,000 daily visitors to its website.

Now the Shop is being converted into The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, a unique Wunderkabinett that, as Wynd himself remarks, will offer a mirror to a world so suffused with miracles and beauty that any attempt at categorization is bound to fail.

The Museum will be divided into two parts: the Upper Galleries, with up to two art exhibitions a year, and the double-vaulted basement Wunderkabinett, displaying the permanent collection in custom-built and salvaged museum and jewellery cases.

For the opening, Wynd is inviting a number of high profile and completely unknown contemporary artists to subvert the permanent collection, responding to the notion of The Infected Museum, while upstairs a selection of work from the permanent collection, together with loans from private collections, will highlight the English Surrealists and Crypto-Surrealists, from Leonora Carrington to Austin Osman Spare.

A packed schedule of talks and demonstrations, ranging from aquarium husbandry to taxidermy, will allow visitors to plunge deeper into the world of curiosity, whilst sipping cocktails and nibbling snacks prepared by the museum café and bar. The events programme will be co-curated by Viktor Wynd, Mark Pilkington and Amber Butchart.

For the more adventurous, The Lion Room – tucked deep in the bowels of the lower galleries – is available for private hire for dinners and intimate encounters for up to ten people. Seated on deep velvet banquettes, guests will dine off a sarcophagus holding a 19th century human skeleton, surrounded by erotica and overlooked by a caged lion skeleton and a disturbingly powerful Mervyn Peake painting.

Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders is published by Prestel to coincide with the Museum Opening. The book takes readers on a tour of homes, private collections and museums that share Wynd’s fondness for things arcane, desiccated, antique or just plain odd.

Opening Times: Wednesday to Friday, noon to 10.30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 10.30pm.

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, 11 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 4RP