Curiosa: Celebrity Relics, Historical Fossils, and Other Metamorphic Rubbishby Barton Lidice Benes, John Berendt (Introduction)
Barton Benes imbues mundane objects with the mystical power of holy relics. He assembles modern-day curiosity cabinets, or reliquaries, out of everyday items that have been touched by fame. From such bizarre celebrity-owned articles as Madonna's panties, Bill Clinton's throat lozenge, O. J. Simpson's glove, Larry Hagman's gallstone, and glass from the car crash in which Princess Diana died, Barton Benes creates an art that is as arresting as it is unique.
Whether his creativity is fueled by discards with the pedigree of fame or infamy, such as a Frank Sinatra fingernail clipping or the Son of Sam's hair, or by unusual and strange objects from human and natural history, such as mummy dust, Benes mounts and labels the items and assembles them into mini-museums that are, as this book shows, alternately provocative, disturbing, and amusing, but always compelling. Benes supplies humorous captions that tell the quirky history of each piece, and John Berendt, best-selling author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, writes an insightful introduction on Benes's art and discusses his own fascination with it.
Barton Lidice Benes's art has evolved over the last 30 years from commentary on society's obsession with money to issues dealing with AIDS. He has had solo exhibitions all over the world; his art is in the collections of major museums; and his work has been featured in several books and numerous magazines and newspapers. He lives in New York City. John Berendt is a best-selling author. He lives in New York City and Venice, Italy.
- Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.32(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.87(d)
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I've seen the galleys and cover and Barton's book is exquisite. Beautifully photographed and printed. Best of all, the publisher actually got Barton to write about the relics, telling the stories behind their acquisition, which are sometimes even more interesting than the relics themselves. Anyone with an ounce of curiosity, humor, or irony is going to love Curiosa.