Objects of Desire and Dreams by Philipp Blom
Why Do We Collect Things? by James L. Halperin
Uncovering the History Behind Collecting by Diane Fricke
Collections of Nothing amazon.com
Nearly everyone collects something, even those who don’t think of themselves as collectors. William Davies King, on the other hand, has devoted decades to collecting nothing—and a lot of it. WithCollections of Nothing, he takes a hard look at this habitual hoarding to see what truths it can reveal about the impulse to accumulate.
To Have And To Hold: An Intimate History Of Collectors and Collecting amazon.com
The cabinets of obsessive Renaissance collectors were filled with rhinoceros horns encrusted with rubies and jaws of gigantic fish, stuffed birds in the most extraordinary colors, and glorious sea shells of all descriptions. Today’s collectors amass everything from Picassos to Pez dispensers. But why? In To Have and To Hold, Philipp Blom explores the history of the collecting passion from the Renaissance to the present.
Every collected object, be it a matchbook or a martyr’s fingernail, carries a meaning that transcends the object itself; it is a totem. Single-minded pursuit turns the collector into cultural anthropologist. For Alex Shear, his collection from the post-War period—from vintage radios, fallout shelters, and Jell-O boxes to elaborate hair drying contraptions, bobby pins, and Barbie dolls—preserves an age of innocence in the form of the familiar household items that served as the set props for the 1950s American Dream. Alex’s Renaissance counterpart is King Rudolph II, whose collection of the art and exotica of his day (housed in his ever-expanding castle in Prague) was breathtaking in its complexity and sophistication, representing the magnificent profusion of the treasures of a world newly explored.
Out of this glittering diversity of material Blom distills the themes underlying this seemingly elusive passion: conquest and possession, chaos and memory, a void to be filled, and the awareness of our own mortality. What emerges is the story of the collector as bridegroom, deliriously, obsessively happy, wed to his possessions, till death do us part.
Cultures of Collecting amazon.com
This book traces the psychology, history and theory of the compulsion to collect, focusing not just on the normative collections of the Western canon, but also on collections that reflect a fascination with the “Other” and the marginal – the ephemeral, exotic, or just plain curious.
There are essays on the Neoclassical architect Sir John Soane, Sigmund Freud and Kurt Schwitters, one of the masters of collage. Others examine imperialist encounters with remote cultures – the consquitadors in America in the sixteenth century, and the British in the Pacific in the eighteenth – and the more recent collectors of popular culture, be they of Swatch watches, Elvis Presley memorabilia or of packaging and advertising.
With essays by Jean Baudrillard, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Nicholas Thomas, Mieke Bal, John Forrester, John Windsor, Naomi Schor, Susan Stewart, Anthony Alan Shelton, John Elsner, Roger Cardinal and an interview with Robert Opie.