Notes on Collecting

So who is a collector and what do collectors collect? Well, we are all collectors of something. What do you collect? Friends, memories, art, baseball cards, happy meal toys? We all collect things that fascinate us or make us happy. We collect things that inspire in us a sense of fascination or appreciation. Artists collect things, especially collage and assemblage artists who love to collect objects and old papers and documents. These collected elements later become parts of larger works of art.

My really big art project is called the Ontological Museum and it has a number of departments such as the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction. It is a collecting museum that looks at the idea of a museum as a new art genre, as a big assemblage of assembled things that is, in essence, crowd sourced by artists from all over the world who have been contributing works to the collection for the past 25 years to help build an amazing collection of contemporary art works to help document the present moment, the early part of the 21st Century. In addition I have a love of vernacular photography and I have collected thousands of old 20th Century black and white and color photographs. I collect them pretty randomly with the thought that any photograph has something interesting in it. It is rare to have a photograph that is not somehow interesting in one way or another.

The hard part is keeping up with everything, keeping it organized, keeping it safe. Then there is documenting it, photographing it, making it available for exhibition or exhibiting it online where the artists can find it. I would say that I probably spend hours every day doing something or thinking about something related to the museum and its collection. 

This very website is an example of attempting to raise the needed funds to properly take care of all of the endless tasks that are involved in keeping a collection that keeps growing and growing.

I am hoping, with these blog posts, to explore the culture of collecting with you and encourage you to take an interest in collecting. Maybe you don't have to go completely crazy with it like I have done but, to the extent you are able and willing, collecting can be a deeply enriching activity and even a lifestyle. Collecting can bring an extra layer of purposefulness to one's life and make one increasingly aware and appreciative of one's world.

At the Louvre in Paris in front of the Mona Lisa