Pictures, Patents, Monkeys and More…On Collecting

January 18 through March 9, 2001

In the realm of collecting, everything is fair game from Old Master drawings to comic books. This exhibition offers a representative selection of objects from three different kinds of collections: contemporary fine art, popular culture, and public record. From the Robert J. Shiffler Foundation, a nationally known collection of contemporary art in Ohio, is a selection of approximately 25 mixed media works by such noteworthy artists. From a private collection in New York comes 100 examples of sock monkeys, a hand-crafted toy whose golden age was the 1950s. The third example of collecting originates in the archives of the United States Patent Office, to which every future inventor submitted a miniature, usually extraordinary, model of the great idea. The show raises provocative questions such as: why do individuals and institutions accumulate objects; what distinguishes an object as art; how does the creation and collecting of contemporary art differ in value, interest and purpose from other pursuits.