Why do people collect things? The motivations are as varied as the objects people collect. Perhaps it’s loyalty to a sports team, for instance, or an obsessive desire to accumulate a single kind of object such as stamps. It may even be fueled by the “law of contagion” that drives bidders to own celebrity talismans, believing the objects are infused with the essence of their previous owner.
Regardless of motivation, every collection has a backstory.
They reveal not just their owner’s addictions but also larger narratives about culture, community and the city. With this in mind, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Public Library launched the recent exhibition “21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story.” The free exhibition, which runs through Jan. 27, is on display at the Central Library’s Getty Gallery, with programming at select branch libraries across the city.
The exhibition, as the title suggests, presents 21 collections. They vary widely and represent a range of interests from science to cultural history to seemingly trivial ephemera such as paper airplanes and candy wrappers. For curator and program manager at the Library Foundation Todd Lerew, the exhibit highlights the role of libraries as collectors, not just of books and movies but also lesser-known collections. “Collections represent the stories of the city, and we wanted to honor the role of the library as the keeper of the stories,” says Lerew.
California: “At L.A. Public Library, the Compulsion to Collect is Explored in ’21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story'”
Filed by November 15, 2018on