Sunday, September 29, 2013

"In flagrante collecto (caught in the act of collecting)"

I may have read about the sculptor Marilynn Gelfman Karp's illustrated catalog in the New Yorker a year ago. In any case, it moved up the Interlibrary Loan List and here are some highlights:

Marilynn Gelfman Karp, Framed Soap Shards, 1995-2004 and Group of Soap Shards, 1995-1999

Marilynn Gelfman Karp, Framed Soap Shards, 1997-1999

Marilynn Gelfman Karp, Framed Soap Shards, 1995-1998

"Robert G. is an artist, a painter fascinated by the way objects age and wear down. He collects nubbins of soap that are too small to be comfortably functional. Unlike the yellow laundry soap of yesteryear, these soap shards are softly curved and as polished as beach pebbles. Many of these soap bars started off with curved edges but all were molded from creamy skin-anointing unguents that yield to the human hand. Robert arranges his soap ostraca in much the same way that Victorians displayed geological specimens or fossils or seashell collections. They are framed in poetic passages that are evocative of the curiosity cabinets of an earlier time. Before I knew Robert, each sliver of my last soap bar was merged with the next as a smaller Siamese twin. Now there is symmetry to my lathering, and something that would have inevitably disappeared with use has instead become a lasting and artful artifact of our time."

Marilynn Gelfman Karp, Swimmer toothpick and snuff scoop (open and closed), 1925

 Marilyn Gelfman Karp, Group of Shopping Lists, 1988-2004

"The most primitive purpose of a list is memory prompting... Lists satisfy the collecting urge and are free. Lists themselves are material, though barely so."

Marilyn Gelfman Karp, Group of Shopping Lists, 1987-2004

"Shopping lists run the gamut of naïve to sophisticated, mundane to poetic, stodgy to flamboyant, offhanded to earnest, vague to obsessively specific. Written for oneself, there is no self-conscious reserve."

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