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The Small Collections Room

The Small Collections Room

Wayne Koestenbaum, Hotel Theory

Wayne Koestenbaum, Hotel Theory

Anthea Hamilton, Vegetalia

Anthea Hamilton, Vegetalia

Anthea Hamilton, Vegetalia (detail)

Anthea Hamilton, Vegetalia (detail)

The Small Collections Room

The Small Collections Room

Matthew Brannon's Cabinet

Matthew Brannon's Cabinet

Art - Small Collections Room

The Small Collections Room

Pablo Bronstein, Matthew Brannon, Anthea Hamilton, Wayne Koestenbaum

14 Nov 2009 - 16 Jun 2010

We commissioned the artist Pablo Bronstein to create a 21st century take on a “cabinet of curiosities” or wunderkammer – the root of the modern museum.

Four ornate cabinets, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries, have been given their own space off The Study, designed by Bronstein and our architects Caruso St John. These intricate places of discovery reflect Bronstein’s interest in Baroque and Neo-Classical architecture. They also have an affinity with contemporary art’s concern with collecting and display.

The contents of each cabinet form minature exhibitions, curated by artists, writers and cultural commentators.

Cabinet 1

Hotel Theory by Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum is a writer best known for his genre-crossing studies on art and culture. He is also a poet and the Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is particularly interested in the position of the fan in relation to his or her idol. Stars in his personal cultural firmament include Andy Warhol, Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas, Liberace, Lana Turner and Elizabeth Taylor. His cabinet, named after his lastest book, features momentos of these and other luminaries, together with other more personal possessions, such as his Jewish grandmother’s emigration documents from Nazi Germany and vintage erotica. Wayne’s cabinet is English and was made in
the 17th century.

Cabinet 2

Vegetalia by Anthea Hamilton

Anthea Hamilton creates surprising and comic sculptures and whole environments from her hoard of familiar objects and cultural artefacts. Her exhibitions often suggest particular scenes – a gym hall, a TV studio, or a bathroom. Vegetalia is a gently suggestive and slightly surreal commentary on the relationship between masculinity and vegetables. In addition one drawer is filled with red snooker balls, while another is a shrine to Woody Allen’s film Annie Hall. Anthea’s cabinet is particularly ornate, featuring hunting scenes inlaid in ivory. It is Italian and dates from the 19th century.

Cabinet 3
Glass eyes courtesy of Nottingham’s Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall.

Cabinet 4

Matthew Brannon, who designed the installation in Café.Bar.Contemporary, has filled our fourth, Japanese style cabinet with the books and belongings of a travelling salesman, continuing a theme of mysterious, fleeting encounters.

Coming Soon
Look out for a collection of 18th and 19th century ‘micromosaics’ from Italy - small, portable pictures of landscapes or reproductions of paintings made in miniature pieces of coloured glass. Some contain up to 5000 ‘tesserae’ (or small pieces) per square inch, making them not unlike the images we see on our computer screens today. The finest were often confused for paintings. They were particularly popular souvenirs on the Grand Tours undertaken by young aristocrats furthering their expensive educations.

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