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Magnificent Obsessions

Posted on February 02, 2015

Andy Warhol Cookie JarsYou can learn a lot about a person from what they collect. That’s the inspiration behind “Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector,” a new exhibit which runs at London’s Barbican Centre from February 12 to May 25, 2015. The show gathers a diverse group of artists and their even more diverse collections: Damien Hirst’s taxidermy and skulls, Andy Warhol’s cookie jars, and Arman’s Japanese samurai armor.

While each assemblage could merit an exhibit of its own, “Magnificent Obsessions” is out to explore the act of collecting itself — how it reflects fixations and influences the artist explores in their own work. At least one piece from each creator will be included alongside his or her collection by way of comparison.

“It will give viewers new insight into the work itself,” says Lydia Yee, curator for Barbican Art Gallery.

In some cases, this is a direct connection — Yee points to the visual artist and tattooist Dr Lakra, whose assemblage of old scrapbooks, record covers, and other graphic material is often used as a foundation on which he embellishes his own art. But just as often, the collection is more tangential.

The arrangement of each collection will also reflect the respective artist’s aesthetic. Rather than a “clinical, museum-like presentation,” Yee says the show will mimic domestic display. “If they have collared walls, we’ll introduce color, or put a rug on the floor,” she says. “It’s about how they live with their things instead of putting everything into a uniform case.”

Read at Rhapsody.

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