Monday, June 1, 2009

"Private Cabinet" Series, The Search Continues For Extraordinary Private Collections!

I recently debuted 22 photographs from my ongoing photographic series "Private Cabinets" in an exhibition I curated called "Morbid Anatomy Cabinet: Gallery as Wunderkammer" at Barrister's Gallery in New Orleans (click here for more). The series was instigated by comments I was repeatedly hearing from curators when working on my previous photographic series "Anatomical Theatre," which documented medical museum collections (click here for more on that). Basically, it heard that museums were being increasingly outbid on items they wished to acquire for their museums by private collectors. This got me to thinking--"Who are these private collectors, and what sort of treasures do they possess? How might their methods of displaying collections differ from institutional approaches? Are we reaching a historical moment similar to the pre-museum era of private cabinets, in which the most interesting artifacts are now in private rather than public hands?"

Thus was born the series "Private Cabinets." Now, 14 collectors and thousands of photographs later, I would like to expand the project further, by documenting yet more collectors. And so, I issue this call to collectors: if any readers out there have extraordinary collections--or know anyone who might--I would love to hear from you. To see the kind of collections I have photographed thus far, you can check out the series as it now stands by clicking here. As you will see , I am happy to leave collectors anonymous or credit them, per their preference. I am particularly curious about collections that have elements of natural history, medicine, taxidermy, waxworks, or arcana, in the broadest sense.

To see more of the images--and to see collector attributions for the above images--click here. If interested in participating--or if you know anyone who might--please contact me by emailing me at Please feel free to repost or pass on to like-minded folk!


Unknown said...

Your blog and these photos are amazing. Lovely work. I worked for a high-end antique store for years and a man used to come in who dealt in antique medical supplies/birthing apparatus and any sort of medical rarity. He had a yearly auction that brought private collectors from all over the world... Hmm. If I find his name, I will pass it along! Love this stuff.

JE said...

Hi Stapelia Company

PLEASE do let me know if you can find his name. That sounds perfect! Thanks!