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Re: CFP: Collecting, Collections, Collectibles, Collectors

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The forwarded part of this did not come through in my return mail, and I
received a message from someone on the list that they were not able to access
it either. So, here it is copied to the body of this email. Barbara Harman

The six sessions on collecting, collections, collectors, and collectibles
last year at the Albuquerque conference of the SW/ Texas PCA/ACA were
extraordinary.  The assembled group of scholars, creators, thinkers,
aficionados was SO good, so interesting, so provocative, so tender and kind
in their attention to each other, that I am even more enthusiastic this year
than I was last year.

Collecting, Collectibles, Collectors
The Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
February 13-17, 2002
 <A HREF="http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~swpca/">Click here: 2002 SW/Texas
Regional Conference</A>

A book is being planned based on the presentations in the
Collections/Collectibles/Collecting interest area at the SW/Texas PCA/ACA.
Four publishers have thus far expressed interest.

    Once again, I am specifically looking for proposals for individual
presentation and for entire panels about collecting, collectibles,
collections, and/or collectors written from one of any of the many feminist
perspectives, the many ethnic studies perspectives, the many LGBT
perspectives, and the many Popular Culture/Cultural Studies perspectives.  I
also seek presentations/panels that examine the impact of the Internet on
collecting.  I would like to hear from people who create something that is
collected and from those who mediate between those who collect and those who
create collectibles.

In re. Feminist perspectives: In the early days of the second wave of the
women's liberation movement, there was talk about the diversion of women with
passion for the arts from that of creator to curator, from producer to
collector, from studio artist to art historian, and so forth.  In recent
years, there has been a close study and celebration of women as collectors.
Viz., GREAT WOMEN COLLECTORS by Charlotte Gere, Marina Vaizey. Abrams, NY.
examines collecting by women from 1750 to 1997 in the fields of art, jewelry,
furniture, textiles and photography. Women like Gertrude Stein, Madame
Pompadour, British Royalty, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Mrs. Potter Palmer,
Coco Chanel, Helena Rubenstein are profiled, along with their great
collections.  But aren't there distinctions in perceptions of what women and
men, people with different levels of education, people with different class
and ethnic origins are doing when they collect "stuff?"  And what about the
creation of cultural artifacts by women?  Who is collecting women's arts?
Are you?  What do you collect?

In re. Ethnic communities: what is the effect on "folk" or "ethnic" or
"primitive" artists of what collectors are interested in buying?  For
instance, traditionally, Oaxacan carving has been done by men.  But many
female collectors are looking for work of this kind done by women.  So
recently, there has been a sudden appearance of Oaxacan carvings signed by

And what about wedding vases created by Native American artists from a
variety of Indian nations?  Are they an "authentic" Native art form or an
invention created by traders who "knew" what collectors would be interested
in?  And, if they are an item "invented" by traders a bit over a hundred
years ago, does the fact that they have been being created by Native artists
and collected by collectors for slightly more than one hundred years make
them now "authentic?"

What about the many conflicting reports on the origin of what is sometimes
referred to as the Mata Ortiz pottery revival?  Is it more or less "salable"
or "valuable" to those who believe it is a rediscovery of ancient pottery
work by the surviving descendants of the original Native inhabitants of the
Casas Grandes area of Mexico or to those who believe that it is the singular
product of an individual genius, Juan Quezada, who has generously taught the
methods he developed to his relatives and fellow villagers, none of whom are
"original" to the region but are, rather, migrants to the area from various
parts of Mexico?

What kinds of relationships can/do/should/might exist between collectors and
creators of ethnic art who share the ethnicity/race of the artists and those
who do not?  Last year, Professor Goings had some provocative comments to
make on this topic in re. Black collectibles.  Anyone want to follow up on
this topic?

What about some of the "should" questions relating to ethnic/racial/faith
community arts and the collectors of these materials?  For instance, what is
the relationship between Jewish collectors and Jewish artists?

And what about the involvement of ethnic/racial/faith community organizations
in the development of exhibit space for the work of those members of their
communities who create various kinds of collectible artifacts?  Are those to
be exhibited chosen on the basis of some sort of aesthetic criteria or some
sort of political criteria?  When a community exhibit is juried, what do the
jurors take into consideration? And how does this affect the way the work is

What is an authentic collectible?  Who decides?  When is "collecting"
political activism?  If the artists of a particular ethnic or racial or faith
community group are excluded from the mainstream of the arts market, is it
the political "duty" of members of that community to collect the work of the
artists of that community?  What kinds of relationships exist between
collectors and artists in minority communities?

    In re. LGBT perspectives: What constitutes an LGBT collection?  Who
collects what?  Why?  What are the purposes of LGBT collections?  Collecting?
 What constitutes an LGBT collectible?  What and where are the important
collections?  Are there public collections?  Are these collectibles safe from
defacement, destruction, etc.?  Is The Aids Quilt an LGBT collection?  Is
collecting, for instance, the work of Keith Haring about collecting LGBT art
or is it about collecting Art?  Is anyone interested in presenting on the
Lesbian Herstory Archives?

In re. the Internet: What has been the impact of eBay and other online
auction sites on collectibles, collecting, and collectors?  What are we to
make of artists-promoters who market their work in an effort to stimulate
collection of their work?  What is their role in the history and on-going
cultural practice of collecting?

In re. theoretical perspectives on collecting: What are the differences
between cultures in which collecting is an understood, accepted, supported,
and "authentic" behavior and cultures in which collecting is a non-recognized
practice?  What is the difference between hoarding and collecting?  When does
a "pack rat" become a "collector?"  What is the role of private collectors in
the creation of the perception of what constitutes the history of an art or
folk or cultural form?  What are the perspectives on collecting of the
various theoretical approaches to human psychology and social psychology?  Is
it anal retentive behavior?  Therapeutic behavior?  Healthy behavior?  What
is the role of the collector as a member of human society?

Here are some other suggested areas of consideration which include, but are
not limited to:

 1.  Private collections as passion, as social climbing activity, as
as inflation hedges;
 2.  Relationships between collectors and curators;
 3.  Private collections as the bases for Public museums;
 4.  Your personal collection;
 5.  The history of collecting;
 6.  The impulse to collect;
 7.  Various attitudes towards collecting various artifacts in various
 8.  Collections and political correctness;
 9.  Collecting "styles";
 10.  My junk/your treasure, my treasure/your junk;
 11.  Self-indulgence/material culture preservation/ "credentialing" the
 12.  Fashions in collection across cultures, across generations, across
classes, etc.;
 13.  Representations of collectors in popular fiction, film, theater;
 14.  Collecting as Therapy/Collecting as Neurosis;
 15.  Collecting as Community activity.
 16.  Collecting as Scholarship.

All of the above is suggestive rather than prescriptive.  I seek ideas and
presentations that explore aspects of collecting etc. that I haven't thought
of as much as the aspects I have already thought of.

I look forward to hearing from you.  Please email or snail mail your
ideas/proposals ASAP through October 15, 2001.

Cordially, Susan Koppelman <<huddis@aol.com>>
4375 E. Coronado Ridge Lane, Tucson, AZ 85739

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