From Rembrandt to Picasso, artists have always collected objects for personal and professional reasons – as props, sources of inspiration, personal mementos and even as investments. It was only recently at Frieze Masters 2014 that Helly Nahmad gallery stole the show with their stand’s recreation of an anonymous collector’s Parisian apartment in 1968. While an artist has a similar need to accumulate knowledge, it’s fair to say that they tend to avoid a scholarly approach to collecting and instead mirror their own personal obsessions in their acquisitions, influenced heavily by their own work and taste.
That certainly seems to be the case at this Barbican exhibition where the motivation and strategy behind an artist’s collection is revealed. For many, amassing objects for research was essential to their practice.
Pop Artist Andy Warhol, for example, was a habitual collector and had a daily routine of stopping by antique and junk shops to ferret out hidden treasures not normally seen as collectibles. Many of these objects served as source material for his famous silkscreen prints of stars like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.
The Barbican has collated an impressive variety of collections at this new London art exhibition, with the number of objects per collection varying from less than 20 to more than 3,000 pieces. In this Aladdin’s cave, you’ll discover African art and Japanese samurai armour once owned by Arman; Damien Hirst’s skulls, taxidermy and medical models; the 1,000 plus scarves by the American designer Vera Neumann from Pae White; and even Andy Warhol’s cookie jars.
Cleverly the Barbican presents these artists’ collections alongside at least one key example of their work; so you’ll have a wonderful insight into each individual’s personality, inspirations, motives and obsessions.
Don't miss February events at the Barbicn including a Mouse Taxidermy Workshop with Margot Magpie (21 February 2015, 11 am – 4pm) and an exhibition tour from curator Lydia Yee (27 February 2015, 7pm).
Want to find more events at the Barbican? Click here for our recommendations.
|What||Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector, Barbican Art Gallery|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Moorgate (underground)|
12 Feb 15 – 25 May 15, Opening times: Sat-Wed 10am–6pm, Thu-Fri 10am–9pm
|Price||£12, Concessions £10|
|Website||Click here to book tickets|