New Museum’s Hit Instagram Project Shows Strange Things People Collect

We all hold onto something.

Portia Munson, Pink Project (detail), 1994, Installation of found pink objects, Courtesy of the artist's website.

Wang Guohua collects cigarette boxes. Lisa Courtney has amassed the largest cache of Pokemon memorabilia. Then there’s John Reznikoff, who holds the Guinness World Record for holding the largest portfolio of celebrity hair samples. Whether they’re movie ticket stubs, found objects, or comic books, the vast majority of us, invariably, collect something. Now, thanks to the New Museum, we’ve been given a window into more private worlds of collecting.

Between scrapbook artist Shinro Ohtake and an endless offering of vintage photographs by Ydessa Hendeles, “The Keeper,” takes aim at exploring the multifarious things we keep (and the ways we hold onto them). To promote their current exhibition, the New Museum launched a campaign with the hashtag #TheKeeper, which invites participants to share images and stories about the things they collect and why.

As artnet News’s Brian Boucher describes the exhibition in his review, “it explores the impulse to preserve, archive, and protect objects, and suggests blurred lines between benign and destructive forms of classification.”

The campaign has been a hit among visitors and social media users. This past week, the New Museum’s Allison Underwood started a series of weekly Instagram posts that feature notable submissions. In the image above, for instance, one user shared her penchant for the practice of keeping at-large, and highlighted a tendency to hold onto the remains of fruits and vegetables. “It’s like keeping a trace of what brought life into my system,” she says. “The multiple seeds and pits become symbols that I like to exhibit around me on shelves or little containers.”

Take a peek inside other collecting habits below.







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