The Keeper at New Museum, through September 25, 2016

Photographs by Corrado Serra.

The Keeper is an exhibition dedicated to the act of preserving objects, artworks, and images. A reflection on the impulse to save both the most precious and the apparently valueless, this presentation brings together a variety of imaginary museums, personal collections, and unusual assemblages, revealing the devotion with which artists, collectors, scholars, and hoarders have created sanctuaries for endangered images and artifacts. In surveying these eclectic modes of collection and conservation, the exhibition recognizes the vision of these distinctive figures while reflecting on the function of museums within multiple economies of desire.

Conceived as a series of studies and portraits that spans the twentieth century, The Keeper tells the stories of various individuals through the objects they chose to safeguard, exposing the diverse motivations that inspired them to endow both great and mundane things with exceptional significance. As responses to loss, chronicles of experience, subjective quests, and archives for the future, the unusual collections and personal museums presented range from staggeringly maximalist efforts to modest struggles charged with urgency. (…)” — Introductory Wall Text

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Arthur Bispo do Rosário (b.ca. 1910, Japaratuba, Brazil, d.1989, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Left to right: Chaleira e urinol/Vagão de espera (Kettle and Urinal/Waiting Wagon), Prateleiras de Automóveis (Shelves of Cars), Carrinho-Arquivo II (Archive-Cart II). Collection Museu Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea/City Hall of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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A Sixty-Three-Year Photo-Biography of Ye Jinglu, Discovered by Tong Bingxue, 1901/1907–68. Courtesy Tong Bingxue.

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002. Installation of 3,000 family-album photographs; antique teddy bears with photographs of their original owners and related ephemera; mahogany display cases; eight painted steel mezzanines; six painted steel spiral staircases; sixteen painted portable walls; hanging light fixtures; and custom wall lighting. Courtesy Ydessa Hendeles and the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto.

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002.

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002.

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002.

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002.

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002

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Ydessa Hendeles (b. 1948, Marburg, Germany). Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), 2002.

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Bottom: The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz (1916–1992). Insurance Clerk from Vienna, 1993–2008. Preserved by Oliver Croy (b.1970, Kitzbühel, Austria) and Oliver Elser (b.1972, Rüsselsheim, Germany). Wien Museum, Vienna.

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Top: Zofia Rydet (b.1911, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, d.1997, Gliwice, Poland). Zapis socjologiczny (Sociological Record), 1978–90. Selection of twenty Lambda prints. Courtesy Zofia Rydet Foundation.

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Shinro Ohtake (b. 1955, Tokyo, Japan). Scrapbooks #4–13 and 17–67, 1979–2012. Courtesy the artist and Take Ninagawa, Tokyo.

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Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn (b. 1881, London, UK, d. 1962, Ascona, Switzerland). Drawings in mixed mediums on paper, ca. 1927-34. Eranos Foundation, Ascona, Switzerland.

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Center: Henrik Olesen (b. 1967, Esbjerg, Denmark). Some Gay-Lesbian Artists and/or Artists relevant to Homo-Social Culture Born between c. 1300–1870, 2007.

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Front: Vanda Vieira-Schmidt (b. 1949, Berlin, Germany). Weltrettungsprojekt (World Rescue Project), 1995–ongoing. Courtesy the artist and Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr, Dresden.

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Front: Roger Caillois (b. 1913, Reims, France, d. 1978, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France). Selection of one hundred stones from the collection of Roger Caillois. Collection Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris.

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Top: Harry Smith (b. 1923, Portland, OR, US, d. 1991, New York, NY, US). Untitled, ca. 1960s, Eighteen string figures mounted on board, framed. Courtesy John Cohen.

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Installation view of fourth floor

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Left: Carol Bove, A Mechanical Solution to a Spiritual Problem, 2016. Courtesy the artist; Maccarone Gallery, New York/Los Angeles; and David Zwirner, New York/London.

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Carol Bove: left: Cretaceous, 2014 and center: For Asta, 2014. Courtesy the artist; Maccarone Gallery, New York/Los Angeles; and David Zwirner, New York/London. Right: Carlo Scarpa, Crescita, 1968. Collection Museo della Rarità Carlo Scarpa, Castello di Monselice.

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Hilma af Klint (b. 1862, Solna, Sweden, d. 1944, Djursholm, Sweden). From Group IX, Series SUW/UW, 1914–15. Courtesy the Hilma af Klint Foundation.

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Hilma af Klint, from Group IX, Series SUW/UW, 1914–15.

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Hilma af Klint, from Group IX, Series SUW/UW, 1914–15.

The Keeper is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson, Artistic Director; Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator; Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator; and Margot Norton, Associate Curator.