by Owain Rhys

This important book deals with the problems of collecting contemporary objects in museums and aims to answer some of the awkward questions raised. What should we collect? Who should decide? How can we adequately record how we live our lives today?


More from the Obsessionistas bookshelf....

  • Creative Walls: How to Display and Enjoy Your Treasured Collections
    by Geraldine James
    A book to inspire you to organize and arrange your collections on any surface in your home to create character, charm and elegance. Geraldine James, veteran collector of all things beautiful, shows ways to organize and arrange virtually anything from scratch and rearrange the collections you treasure to best effect using texture and themes to create elegant displays.
  • The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification
    by Julian Montague

    Over an eight year period between 1999 and 2007 Julian Montague undertook a project to document stray shopping carts he encountered. He decided to observe them in the way a naturalist might observe animals and subsequently developing a classification system for them. The result is a fascinating illumination of the peripheral spaces that they occupy in the urban environment.

  • Cyclepedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs
    by Michael Embacher, Paul Smith

    With a forward by Paul Smith, Cyclepedia, features a selection of Michael Embacher’s amazing personal collection of bicycles from his museum in Vienna, Austria. It celebrates a wide diversity of machines from the last century, covering significant innovations and developments... from early uprights to the latest carbon race machines and from experimental track bikes to quirky and stylish folders. All of the bicycles are beautifully and meticulously illustrated along with accompanying explanatory text in what is surely a ‘must-have’ book for anyone who claims to be interested in bicycles.

  • Cabinets for the Curious: Looking Back at Early English Museums (Perspectives on Collecting)
    by Ken Arnold

    From a series of books titled Perspectives on Collecting by Ashgate; ‘Cabinets for the Curios’ reminds the reader of the practices and traditions that our museums evolved from. Over the centuries, narrative and functionality often lost out to the obsession with categorisation and ordering of collections. Another interesting insight is that the recent ‘de-intellectualisation’ of many British museums, through the intensive reliance on base level electronic interactions, might benefit from a review. Traditionally exhibitions were curated to encourage voyeuristic and reflective observation of historical artefacts – something to be reinstated. Indeed a lesson from the past itself would do no harm either, particularly from the successes of the original ‘cabinets of curiosities’ of the seventeenth century.

  • In Flagrante Collecto: (Caught in the Art of Collecting)
    by Marilynn Gelfman Karp

    A beautiful and thoroughly engaging personal obsession in its own right, In Flagrante Collecto (caught in the act of collecting) documents a huge range of some of the oddest of collections out there, proving that often the most bizarre and ‘unloved’ items (in this case mainly Americana) prompt us to want to investigate further. Karp’s obvious obsession soon becomes apparent, with philosophical musings and plenty of her own memories to accompany the documented collections, with over two hundred being her own!

  • Possession Obsession: Andy Warhol and Collecting
    Andy Warhol Museum

    Warhol was a prodigious collector.  Following his death a sale of more than 10,000 objects from his estate was held at Sothebys in New York.  Time magazine described it as the 'garage sale of the century'.  This book focuses on how Warhol's passion for collecting, his 'possession obsession', was an intrinsic part of his life and work as an artist.

  • Sock Monkeys (200 Out of 1, 863)
    by Arne Svenson, Ron Warren

    Two hundred sock monkeys have had their portraits taken for this beautifully shot black and white book. Each individual monkey has its own unique personality, quirky, cute and captivating, and with their eyes fixed straight at you the viewer, they’re sure to make you smile and smile and smile.

  • Street Covers
    by Jacopo Pavesi, Roberta Pietrobelli

    Scouring the pavements of London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Berlin, Jacopo Pavesi and Roberta Pietrobelli show how the humble street cover has become a classic of industrial design, as worthy of our admiration as fountains, phone boxes or any other item of street furniture that now enjoys iconic status.

  • The Hare With Amber Eyes
    by Edmund de Waal

    Winner of the Costa Biography Award and a former Radio 4 Book of the Week, this is the story of Edmund de Waal's journey to trace his family history through a collection of miniature Japanese sculptures or netsuke.

    Obsessionista Rosy Burman tells the story behind her collection of netsuke in collection #0009.

  • 20th-century Glass: Over 2,000 Items, Identified, Valued (Miller's Guides)
    by Andy McConnell

    A good overview of the major glass designers and manufacturers of the twentieth century.  Includes a section on the Holmegaard glass company (see collection #0010).

  • Watertowers
    by Bernd Becher, Hilla Becher

    A seminal book and one of the key influences behind our own interest in documentary collections.  The Bechers' 224 photographs of watertowers comprise a unique, single minded and obsessive mission.

  • Objects
    by Martin Parr

    As well as being an internationally renowned photographer, Martin Parr is also an addicted collector of photographs, books, postcards and - as presented in this book - eccentric objects and ephemera. Featuring almost 500 items gathered by Parr over thirty years, including miners strike and Margaret Thatcher memorabilia, Saddam Hussein watches and Osama Bin Laden ephemera, they are his own highly personal reflection on history.