Natalie Bell, Massimiliano Gioni con The Keeper
The Keeper accompanies an exhibition dedicated to the act of preserving objects, artworks and images. Through a variety of imaginary museums, personal collections and unusual assemblages, it offers a reflection on the impulse to save both the most precious and the apparently valueless, and reveals the devotion with which artists, collectors, scholars and hoarders have created sanctuaries for endangered images and artifacts.
Through works spanning the 20th century, The Keeper tells the stories of various individuals through the objects they chose to safeguard. Some, such as Roger Caillois' collection of rare stones and Harry Smith's string figures, pursue a universal syntax. Other collections were not so much kept as withheld, such as Hilma af Klint's suite of abstract paintings from 1906-15, which she kept hidden for decades after her death, venturing that her work would be better appreciated beyond her own time. Shinro Ohtake's feverishly collaged scrapbooks burst with found materials as free associations of images and everyday ephemera. In a ceremonious personal custom, Ye Jinglu had a studio portrait of himself taken every year for decades. These photos, preserved by Tong Bingxue, represent collecting as a mode of auto-ethnography that inadvertently also traces social and political changes over time. The centerpiece of the book is a vast display conceived by Ydessa Hendeles, composed of over 3,000 family-album photographs of people posing with teddy bears, and vitrines containing antique teddy bears.
[Hilma af Klint's] 15 paintings in "The Keeper" exhibition at the New Museum... form one of the greatest sights in any New York museum right now.--Roberta Smith "The New York Times "
[Hilma af Klint's] 15 paintings in -The Keeper- exhibition at the New Museum... form one of the greatest sights in any New York museum right now.--Roberta Smith -The New York Times -
The catalog for one of the most engaging New York museum shows this year, The Keeper is about obsessive collecting as a mutant species of art-making, a deeply human desire for preservation that leads in one direction to the world's great museums and in the other to the Collyer brothers. Levi Fisher Ames's fantastical whittled zoo creatures from around the turn of the last century are worth the price of this book all by themselves.--Randy Kennedy "The New York Times "
Foregrounding a passion for images and collecting, 'The Keeper' worked to dismantle the presumptions that govern museums and limit our pleasure in commonplace things.--Brian Wallis "Artforum "
A [catalogue] that casts a much wider net, that gives weirder and more idiosyncratic work much more room- and makes everything we're used to seeing in museums (and even galleries) seem hemmed in by comparison.--Jerry Salz "The New York Times "
'The Keeper' shows us that there is more in the category of art than our present system has dreamed of.--Jerry Saltz "New York Magazine "
As an object, single or multiplied, it serves the basic function that collecting -- call it hoarding, call it installation art -- does. It lets us keep the illusion that we can forever embrace, and be embraced by, what is forever fading away.--Holland Cotter "The New York Times "
Stacks of over 300,000 drawings, assemblages of collected hair and debris, as well as meticulously hand-carved wooden figurines make up just a few of the items on display in the New Museum's latest exhibition, 'The Keeper'. It's a show which effectively blends the boundaries between curating, creating, and collecting art.--Carly Ayres "Wallpaper "
With over 4,000 objects representing more than two dozen collectors, including contemporary artists making art conceived by collecting, Massimiliano Gioni, the museum's artistic director, and his team of curators have mounted a remarkable series of object lessons about what it means to 'keep, ' the relationship of possession to loss, the madness inherent in love, and the undeniable importance of the individual's voice in recording and interpreting history and its sweep.--William Hamilton "The New York Times "