Essays by Dave Hickey and Susan Tallman
Photographer, designer and installation artist Barbara Bloom has built her career on questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions and commenting on the act of collecting. The Collections of Barbara Bloom explores all aspects of her oeuvre, including works from past multimedia installations and newly made pieces, as well as objects from her vast personal archive of ephemera and advertisements. In some cases, Bloom revisits previous installations and adds new elements, resisting the delineation between past and present in her work. She often integrates her photographs with furniture to create compelling scenes, as with the installation Greed (1988) comprised of a chair, an empty frame and her own photograph of a museum gallery showing a guard in a chair. An example of one of her “collections” is a complete set of Vladimir Nabokov’s writings, with all the book covers redesigned by Bloom. This work refers not only to herself as artist and collector, but to Nabokov as collector (he obsessively collected his own books). The Collections of Barbara Bloom is an expansion of a project developed as part of Bloom’s Wexner Art Center Residency Award in 1998.