Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seeking Holders of Private Cabinets/Call For Artworks!

As some of you already know, I am working on a project wherein I will be photographing "private cabinets" (see above)--idiosyncratic museum-like collections owned and displayed by individuals rather than institutions and housed in apartments, homes, and studies around the United States and England. It is my conviction that many of the best artifacts and collections now reside, as in the days of the Wunderkammer, in the private rather than the public realm; it is my goal with this project to document and make visible these fantastic collections as a sort of virtual Grand Tour. The resulting photographs will form the basis of an upcoming exhibition at Barrister's Gallery in New Orleans.

I am presently seeking to finalize a list of collectors in the greater New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles areas to visit and photograph. If anyone in these areas has any collections that might fit the bill (see this previous post for more information), or knows of any other collections that might, I would love to hear from you; you can email me at

For the same exhibition, I am also seeking a variety of artworks to accompany the photographs in a sort of private-cabinet installation of its own; see below for a full description:

The Morbid Anatomy Cabinet Call for Works
Barrister's Gallery
May 9th-June 6th
Opening Reception Saturday May 9th from 6-9
Curated by Joanna Ebenstein

Andy Barrister and I are putting together a "Morbid Anatomy Cabinet" at Barrister's Gallery in New Orleans. The "Cabinet" will consist of a clutter of objects and flatworks to supplement a collection of my photographs (see above) of privately held "personal cabinets"--idiosyncratic museum-like collections owned by individuals rather than institutions and housed in apartments, homes, and studies around the United States and England. Objects, artifacts, installation, and other 3-D works are especially of interest, though flat works are also acceptable.

To get a sense of the kind of work we are seeking to fill our cabinet with, just poke around this blog for a few minutes. If you need further clarification, here are some adjectives: anatomical, 19th Century, hysteria, specimens, natural history, unnatural history, teratology, art/science, reliquaries, old science, phrenology, taxidermy, taxonomy, the encyclopedic impulse, waxworks, antiquated forms of seeing and showing, magic lanterns, panorama, diorama, curious objects, bones, bell jars, the melancholy, things in jars, the "pathological sublime," antiquated photographic methods, Wunderkammer, devices of wonder, exotica, the sacred/profane, ephemera, memento mori... You get the idea.

All work must be ready for exhibition purposes—sculptural work may require a pedestal, and smaller works should have glass enclosures when practical.

You may submit jpegs of work to both of us and we will exercise a certain amount of curatorial judgment on the execution and appropriateness of the works. Conceptual projects should be detailed out. No work will be accepted after Saturday, April 25th.

If you are interested in submitting work, or have any suggestions or questions, please email me at The same goes if you are a collector or know of a collector I might want to contact.

Thanks so much!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is an absolutely spectacular pursuit.

I know of a gentleman locally, but most of what he has are humbugs and more along the lines of freakshow and paranormal detrius.