The Collections of Barbara Bloom
Photographer, designer, and installation artist Barbara Bloom (b. 1951) has built her career out of questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions, and commenting on the act of collecting. This retrospective will explore all aspects of her oeuvre, and includes works from past multi-media installations and newly made pieces, as well as objects from her vast personal archives 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) from the ICP collection, 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 refers not only to herself as collector, and Nabokov as collector (he obsessively collected his own books), but herself as artist.
The Collections of Barbara Bloom is organized by the International Center of Photography and is an expansion of a project developed as part of Bloom's Wexner Art Center Residency Award in 1998. It will be accompanied by an ambitious, fully illustrated catalogue published by ICP/Steidl.