An illustration from the back cover of an undated booklet titled “Hungarian Specialities” published by IBUSZ in Budapest. Graphics are credited to Ervin Ágas.
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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From the flea market in Rosemont, IL this morning. This is a magical collection of items arranged in a perfectly harmonious balance with the universe. The woman that set these things out for sale is an artist. Buy all four objects together and I’m pretty sure that you could use them to build a time machine.
Dial ‘H’ for Hotdog. From the flea market in Rosemont, IL this morning. The old man selling this stuff also sells at Swap-O-Rama and is one of my favorite vendors. Incredibly cheery guy. Nonetheless, I did not purchase any of this crap. The hot dog could probably be cut in half and turned into a wonderful coffin!
From the flea market in Rosemont, IL this morning. If the elegant woman in this painting was still alive, I can only imagine how pissed off she’d be to find her portrait propped up against a van in a parking lot, placed at the end of a long row of cheap plastic tubs and folding tables.
Chicago: I’ll be at the Medium Cool Art Book Fair at the Half Letter Press / Temporary Services table. Come say Hello! You’ll be able to pick up a few Public Collectors booklets and anyone that purchases anything will get a free copy of the Public Collectors’ Malachi Ritscher booklet.
Medium Cool is Sunday, August 10, 10:00 AM – 8:00PM at Prairie Production,1314 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 6060.
Today marks the anniversary of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima by the United States.
You can download a complete PDF of the 1981 book The Unforgettable Fire - Pictures Drawn By Atomic Bomb Survivors, at this link on Public Collectors’ website. It is one of the most deeply moving collections of drawings you will ever see.
From the back cover: “The art in this book was a response to a request broadcast on a morning television program in Japan for drawings from atomic bomb survivors. The results were immediate. The television station was inundated with drawings. So powerful were the survivors’ desires to share their memories that they turned to whatever materials were at hand – pencils, crayons, watercolors, Magic Markers, colored pencils, India ink – and drew on the backs of calendars, advertisements, bills, or even the paper used to cover Japanese sliding doors. Some drew on the backs of children’s scribbled papers, probably those of their grandchildren.”
A friend and I were discussing Funkadelic records and I thought that maybe I should investigate the state of my Funkadelic vinyl. Like the band itself, it’s kind of a mess. Even though I’ve thinned out duplicates here and there, I still somehow have four copies of the first album. One is original and playable, one is a clean reissue, one is original and cracked in half from when a shelf fell on it, and one is just a sleeve with no record. Yeah, it’s bad. The biggest prize here is my copy of “One Nation Under A Groove” that Funkadelic artist Pedro Bell signed after my group Temporary Services interviewed him a bunch of years back. He wrote: “Markodelic, May the bionic fist of zeepalogical audacity propell your entity up and beyond the Call of Booty!” Words to live by.
One of many 1” buttons designed by the artist Chuck Jones for an exhibit in Oak Park, IL in the early 2000s. Hundreds of buttons featuring dozens of designs were spread out across a table. Visitors were invited to make a donation in a jar and take as many different buttons as they wanted. This button features Trent Lott, who as some may recall, made a bigoted comment at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party in 2002.
One of many 1” buttons designed by the artist Chuck Jones for an exhibit in Oak Park, IL in the early 2000s. Hundreds of buttons featuring dozens of designs were spread out across a table. Visitors were invited to make a donation in a jar and take as many different buttons as they wanted.
The mighty band Funkadelic sang in 1970:
And with that, I’d like to announce that Public Collectors is now on Library Thing. I (Marc Fischer) will be focusing on books in my own collection on the topics of collections, archives, ephemera, creative collecting projects, material culture, and the various issues surrounding ‘stuff.’ If you are passing through Chicago and need to consult something, please feel free to contact me. You can see my Public Collectors-related book collection here. More titles will be added as they are acquired, unpacked, or remembered!
If you’ve followed Public Collectors for a while, you know that Swap-O-Rama on South Ashland in Chicago is a special place. Here are some of today’s offerings. The real challenge here is to come up with a project that necessitates the use of each of these items.