From the Weird Mind Comes Stories, an undated, unique, handmade book, written and illustrated by Nathan Beier (born 1979). Found in a Chicago thrift store.
Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.
This page consists of sample findings and excerpts. It is also an account of the contents of my home and digital files from my camera. If you have suggestions, have a collection you want to share, or are in Chicago and would like to see something in person, please contact me. This blog is intended as a casual, more personal supplement to the main Public Collectors website.
Public Collectors is maintained by Marc Fischer.
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A 2-page spread from From the Weird Mind Comes Stories, an undated, unique, handmade book, written and illustrated by Nathan Beier (born 1979). Found in a Chicago thrift store.
The front cover of From the Weird Mind Comes Stories, an undated, unique, handmade book, written and illustrated by Nathan Beier (born 1979). Found in a Chicago thrift store.
In addition being the administrator of Public Collectors, I’m also a member of the group Temporary Services with Brett Bloom. Temporary Services has been on a publishing rampage lately. We recently reprinted my 2006 essay Against Competition as its own booklet with illustrations by Kione Kochi and a new Afterword.
The essay takes on the pervasive and corrosive problem of competition that exists and is created between artists by a market-driven art system. The essay also explores productive collaborative models in art, as well as in underground music subcultures whose approaches to generosity and working together might be something for artists to learn from. The Afterword follows up on some of the stories and examples from the original essay, and looks at the impact of social media on all of these concerns and how things have changed in the nearly 8 years since this text was first written. It also mentions the founding of Public Collectors. The booklet was made on a Risograph EZ 390 with three colors on green and white paper. Copies are available for purchase here. We also made an epub and a PDF version.
This small pile of objects, ephemera, and mailings represents the totality of materials I have saved or that I received from Cynthia Gray, a poet who first worked as an artist under the name Cindy Loehr. The last mailing came in 2012. We hadn’t been in touch much since then. I think she was working toward becoming a health care professional. I’m not sure.
Last night I learned of Cynthia’s death. I don’t know details. Cynthia maintained the website collectiveexperience.org and if you visit it, you’ll no longer find any record of her art or writing or projects. Instead you’ll find a God Loves You message.
I did not create Public Collectors as a place to constantly reflect on death, but lately there has been a fair amount of this in my world and much of it has been under shitty and premature circumstances. Cynthia gave away thousands of refrigerator magnets bearing the message “Don’t Give Up.” I think she started making these shortly after her brother committed suicide. It was the one piece of her visual art practice that she hung onto, and her last mailing to me included a fresh new magnet, along with another with the same message that a mutual friend of ours translated into Korean.
I had a conflicted relationship with Cynthia. I wished her well and thought of her as a friend, but even after some arguments were deep in the past, there remained some things about her that I did not trust and I maintained a slight distance. I do not feel compelled to preserve her work for all to see and I did not sign on to be her archivist, but I have this stack of things. If this is something you need to see at some point, I can be reached here.
Objects are handy for the way they can trigger specific memories of where they were acquired and the people associated with that experience.
This is the copy of “Bonecrusher” by Broken Bones that I purchased from Chaos Records in Philadelphia in around 1987 or possibly 88. I was about 17 years old at the time and was trying to get a handle on the endless depths of the underground music I was getting into. Brubaker, the owner of Chaos Records, was unusually friendly and helpful - the kind of ultra-punk looking dude that people might expect would be horribly unpleasant, but actually was extremely welcoming and kind to naive kids like myself that walked into the store, trying to learn about good non-mainstream music. I have other records that I purchased from Chaos but this one is particularly memorable because Brubaker special ordered it for me.
I learned this morning that Brubaker died last week. I don’t know the specifics and I don’t know what he had been doing since Chaos Records closed many years ago, but he should be remembered. Brubaker also sung for the band Circle of Shit, whose demo tape can be heard here.