www.agentofchaos.com presents guest artist - Harley Spiller aka Inspector Collector
The Queens Museum of Art
July 18th through October 24th, 2004
Showing Your Stuff
September 10, 2004
By LAUREL GRAEBER
The New York Times
You have to wonder what Harley Spiller's parents thought of
his collections while he was growing up. One thing is
certain: they didn't throw them out. And now Mr. Spiller,
a k a Inspector Collector, has provided an apt retort to
exasperated adults who wish their children would just chuck
all those marbles, Beanie Babies, Pokémon cards or
whatever: "Hey, Mom and Dad, it could all go in a museum
Mr. Spiller, who has been acquiring everything from bottle
caps to straws to subway tokens (now MetroCards) since
childhood, has his own show, "Inspector Collector's Cool
Stuff," at the Queens Museum of Art. With 18 of his
collections and one borrowed one - pencils from the
Revolutionary War - it illustrates how humble objects
chronicle the habits and beliefs of cultures.
Consider Mr. Spiller's Chinese menus. They demonstrate that
this cuisine is global - he has examples from Greenland and
Iceland - and they are case studies in how countries view
one another. The display includes comments from Chinese who
examined the menus, noting how some designs reflected
racial stereotypes or Western expectations.
Mr. Spiller has filled the show with intriguing questions
that the exhibits answer, like "What is ullage?" (The air
space inside a bottle.) He has also created a free catalog
("Stuff") and a contest that asks youngsters to identify
six mystery objects. (Those making one or more correct
guesses win prizes.) The answers will be revealed on Oct.
10, Junior Collectors' Day, an invitation for children to
display their own collections. (Applications are available
at the exhibition or from email@example.com.
So don't throw anything out.
"Inspector Collector's Cool Stuff," through Oct. 24
at the Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park,
(718)592-9700. Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Suggested admission:
$5; 65+ and children, $2.50; under 5, free.
Agent of Chaos
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