Barbara Bloom


Barbara Bloom, Shanghai Pigment Street, 2001 (2010.131.1)

BB loved color charts because of the odd way they brought together the wholly abstract (a rectangle of color) and the delimiting powers of language (a name). Toddlers progress ecstatically from the assertively yelled “red!” to ubiquitous “green,” to the esoteric and usually automotive “silver.” But one day there comes that bottom-falling-out-of-the-world moment in the paint-strip section of the hardware store: “Turquoise” may be understood, but what is “Tango” (Sherwin Williams) or “Marshmallow Bunny” (Benjamin Moore)? Never mind “Bright Laughter” (Pittsburgh Paints)? BB’s tawny orange “Miranda Rights” is more eccentric only by a hair.
“The Collections of Barbara Bloom,” ICP, 2007, p. 46.


Barbara Bloom, ICP, 05/16/1990.


Barbara Bloom, Greed, 1988 (8.2001)

Greed from The Seven Deadly Sins.

A lofty Chines quanyi (horseshoe chair) with stationery on seat, on plinth; black-and-white photograph taken in the Egyptian galleries of the British Museum, mounted in a gilt mat, framed, 1988.

Each of BB’s Seven Deadly Sins comprises a chair, a picture, and a dropped accessory – in this case, a piece of stationary with the letterhead GREED (someone’s name? a corporation? an acronym?). The diffidence of the Sins is that of the museum-period-room display. “We live here year round,” they seem to sneer at tourists, but they do so with the slight apprehension that the same is true of the animals in a zoo.
“The Collections of Barbara Bloom,” ICP, 2007, p. 221.


Barbara Bloom, ICP, 05/16/1990.

Photographer, designer, and installation artist Barbara Bloom (b. 1951) has built her career out of questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions, and commenting on the act of collecting. This retrospective will explore all aspects of her oeuvre, and includes works from past multi-media installations and newly made pieces, as well as objects from her vast personal archives of ephemera and advertisements. In some cases, Bloom revisits previous installations and adds new elements, resisting the delineation between past and present in her work. She often integrates her photographs with furniture to create compelling scenes, as with the installation Greed (1988) from the ICP collection, comprised of a chair, an empty frame, and her own photograph of a museum gallery showing a guard in a chair. An example of one of her “collections” is a complete set of Vladimir Nabokov’s writings, with all the book covers redesigned by Bloom. This refers not only to herself as collector, and Nabokov as collector (he obsessively collected his own books), but herself as artist.
The Collections of Barbara Bloom, ICP, January – May, 2008.


Barbara Bloom, ICP, 05/16/1990.

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