Curiosa by Barton Lidice Benes
Celebrity Relics, Historical Fossils, and Other Metamorphic Rubbish

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Barton Bennes imbues mundane objects with the mystical power of holy relics. He assembles modern-day curiosity cabinets, or reliquaries, out of everyday items that have been touched by fame. From such bizarre celebrity-owned articles as Madonna's panties, Bill Clinton's throat lozenge, O.J. Simpson's glove, Larry Hagman's gallstone and glass from the car crash in which Princess Diana died, Benes creates art. Whether his creativity is fuelled by discards with the pedigree of fame or infamy, such as a Frank Sinatra finger-nail clipping or the Son of Sam's hair, or by unusual and strange objects from human and natural history, such as mummy dust, Benes mounts and labels the items and assembles them into mini-museums that are, as this book shows, alternately provocative, disturbing, amusing and compelling. Benes supplies humorous captions that tell the quirky history of each piece, and John Berendt, in his introduction to Benes's art, discusses his own fascination with it.

About Barton Lidice Benes

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Published October 23, 2002 by Harry N. Abrams. 132 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Leavening the reliquary's morbidity are anecdotes of stealthy acquisition—the artist surreptitiously pocketing Ed Koch's dinner fork, friends thieving a twig from Mao Tse-tung's broom, a postal worker retrieving a dead bird that flew into Elizabeth Taylor's window.

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