Connection to Collection: Collectors Collect
People collect. It is in human nature to collect. Human emotion from the collective unconscious, to the survivalist need to hunt + gather. Questioning human nature to collect or horde. Does everyone collect something(s)?
Long standing art collections of institutions from museums to those of Kings and Queens have been cherished, prized and coveted by those who have not. The collections have been widely praised and exalted long after the memory of those responsible for the original collection. It’s the collection that is noted as impressive. Royalty, Dynastic rulers, churches of the world, and financiers commissioned artist and crafts men to create, en mass, worlds left pleasurable to all the senses. These collections left, standing time, preserved for generations to again exalt those with the power, money for which the collection was created for.
Museums collect. Museums establish large scale amounts of works. These collections are widely known, yet seldom seen. Art work, donated or on loan by a network of philanthropists, families and individuals who love stuff, things, items of affection.
Historically, women have long contained, carried and stored, told and retold the oral history of their peoples. Passing this oral (her)story and love though generations. Women have shared and passed along the secrets of quilting, often through the works of art themselves. Family recipes exemplify national, regional, social and cultural collectives.
Modern collections are at every social outlet. Most common, magazines are in every sense a collection. Often thematic variations that collect and communicate thoughts, pictures and stories. Repetition of cultural and statistical factoids that retain in a peoples collective conscience. Pop culture magazines employ collections every month. Images of entertainment stars, very short stories; who’s wearing what or whom, who went where, who knows who, who’s dress looked great. This variation on collection, as valid as any art show at the Metropolitan Art Museum, has validity as a collection, for those in the creation process as well as those entertained.
Everyone that I encounter collects something(s). Whether it be family photos , heirlooms, buttons, a grandmothers thimbles (generational collections passed,) Hummel figurines, things that are blue, animals that are stuffed, baseball trading cards worth (?)($), my grandfathers (?) Some may even collect heartache.
Often times, when asked, people are reticent of the idea that they collect. When in fact, once inquired a story unfolds of a potential collection whether it be conscience or unconscious. When considering collections, one must ask what makes a grouping of objects, desirable. What effort does subject matter, the enthusiasm to build upon, or the creation of stories of similar mindedness have on the items of obsession. A collections range varies, from individual, psychological (collective unconscious), cultural, social, financial, as well as familial. My definition of a collection is inclusive rather than a definitive set of variables.
What is the first of any given collection? Was this decision active or passive. What might any said collection, say, once abstracted, or deconstructed and decoded. What does this said collection mean/say/represent about the collector and that, or those items that are not part of any given collection. How do collections get started? Perhaps a chance gift, appreciated, to the point of searching for more of the same. Might obsession of any given genre encourage the possession. Many superstitions require items of luck, or safety. Some origins may remain obscure. How and what was found of interest, compels the search for more of the same oddity.
Numerous books and periodicals written on common and popular collectibles abound with items, classifications, genres and worth. Collectibles of coins, stamps, antiques, trading cards, retro toys, historical items are seen with a microscope and dedicated with authorized dealers, scholars and experts. These sanctioned authorities are able to control the marketability and value. With the popularity of Antique Roadshow, historic specification allows their knowledge to create a long prized heirloom, or roadside antiquity into “finest kind.” I propose these newly precious items create a one of a kind collection. A collection of one.
What circumstances allow a collection to exist, formally established, or informally as personal obsession of desire. Does a collection require participation other than acknowledgement? Every single person that has a collection, when asked, don’t consider their habits and desires to be collectives. Many in denial, or potentially guilt, can not see beyond, into the realm of an over all nature of collecting. As collection meander, so to the stories of said collections. Therefore, is it the outcome or undercurrent of itemized collections, or the stories surrounding them.
When asked, people often respond that they don’t have collections of any one thing. Observed response shows a lacking emotional connection that many are unable to identify with a collection. Many people respond to the question of collections with, “no. I don’t collect anything…” When further asked, people respond, “when I was a kid I collected…” or, “I’d like to start getting some…” Only then do people realize that they do have objects of affection, or ponder the idea that they do collect. For some, intent or affection is their new guideline for a collection.
A recent inquiry enlightened someone who has a tattoo, and has planned on more, they had the drawings, only money was restricting her actualization of a final set, planned, sequenced, placed, inked and healed would the collection be complete did she realize that the intent to collecting tattoos was real. This woman admitted that it was addictive and that she definitely wanted, and needed more.
A Street collects homes. Homes collect people.
Collections differ greatly.
Collecting is not limited to those with money. Many people with limited funds, still have the ability for collection. These collections still have the ability to be art, or those of fine collectibles. Even a homeless man, under severe disability, with the opportunity to share has a collection of sorts. David Alonza DeYAampert Jr., a reclusive but popular figure for decades in Minneapolis has been a homeless schizophrenic, Vietnam Vet. He lived under the bridges outside of downtown. David’s collection of signatures on everything he possesses and carries with inspired for monetary reasons. His stories told, became collection to those who knew him. Three winter coats, layered through winter months, contained the lists of all that he encountered as patrons, and gave him money for their signatures. David created a pilgrimage walking stick, and had people sign them. With the potential of a few dollars spent, stories told and retold of each beautiful women whose name graced that stick. His higher donor list, for $40, may acquire each monument after completion.
Collections of family recipes have been coveted, cherished, held for generations, or shared openly. Many recipe cards include the line, “From the kitchen of…” A recipe is a complex set of separate collections in themselves. Often categorized by dish, followed by ingredients. A recipes collection of flavors, ingredients, a system of weights and measures, intuition, and genre all lead to a social, cultural, and historic gathering. A shared collective established.
Modern collections of music via iTunes, allows for personal choice and hording. Often times size, uninterested in sum total of contents, becomes the goal state. Total songs, how many days of playing time, and often even more importantly on the container.
Collectors, interested in the quintessential cornerstone item of affection, potentially unobtainable, look to fill in all the gaps around the prize, knowing the lapse is beyond their reach. A collections diversity, within a specific preset, is what allows a collection to grow, and often morph itself to sub genres and categorization, all equally collectible. Minute differences encourage the growth and variety of any said and unspecified collection. Often times a collection is void of personal meaning and connection to collection. Financial portfolios serve one purpose. To gather financial gain. However, restructured in social situations, a personal portfolio creates the opportunity, and shared as stories as fiscal monopoly. Daily factoids and discourse encourage IRA portfolios to be managed, the potential for growth, strength, weakness, even the act of trading-up similar to baseball trading cards, treat this impersonal action as a collection of passion.
Contemporary search engines mix presorted facts and lists, gathered and offered as a collective.
MULTIPLES VS. COLLECTIONS. How many items constitute collection? Two? Three? One! Might the potential for one, comprise a collection. Must it be cherished. Does it have to be built upon and added to. Can one singular item, isolated, establish and hold as a collection. To hunt and gather, is a human as well as animalistic trait for survival. Even collected stories of last years hunt compounds annually into the social collective conscience. Retail stores combine the use of multiples and collections, as a means to separate themselves from the competition. A retail store hunts and gathers like items, focused upon specific variations of goods and services. Each store, like that which is available, is differentiated and categorized by its collection, both in content and intent. Even in the case of large super savior stores does the selection / collection differ. Availability, consumer choice and layout reflect each individually. Therefore each collection offers variables that still amount to specialized collecting.
The abstraction of collection, when observed, is about inclusion. The total combination’s and pairings establish a story. Whether these stories are told in musical compilations, dance ensembles, gallery retrospectives, comedic revue, or spoken word battles. The collection of collaborators is paramount. Collections complex interpreted broadcasting of like ideas, shared motivations and themes ideally stimulate connotative discourse.
As a curator of an art gallery, my intentions are the showcasing of artists. Allowing artist to tell their story, through their medium. Often curation is about editing (create—curate) and communicate the best possible combination to cast the greatest potential of the intended message. This intended story is often unknown by the artist as separates. With observation and presentation, connections of similar and perceived themes may cautiously be drawn without injecting personal meaning. A curators’ ability for allowance, provides the greatest potential for a collections communicative narrative to evoke change and better foster the intentions of
1. Any thing(s) gathered as multiples establish a collection. Even a sampling of one of a kind, might establish a collection when grouped, paired or multiplied.
2. How might a new collection get established? Is it interest, obsession, or set circumstances.
3. Pop culture encourages collection…
4. Children collect…
5. To horde or collect the potentially obscure
6. Collections on Collecting
7. His(her)story is a large collection of events, peoples, culture
8. Multiplication of collections
9. Passive collection
10. Active collection
11. Hunt + Gather
12. (?) Modernism and collecting