The Collections of Barbara Bloom

The Collections of Barbara Bloom

Barbara Bloom, New York, New York, 2008


Conceptual artist Barbara Bloom has built a career from questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions and commenting on the act of collecting. The Collections of Barbara Bloom accompanied an exhibition of the same title at the International Center of Photography, New York, and Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. It explores all aspects of her oeuvre, including works from past installations, newly made pieces, as well as objects from her vast personal archives of books, films, photographs and ephemera. Bloom revisits previous works and adds new elements, resisting the delineation between past and present in her work. Bloom also invents and illustrates fictitious works and collections. Her categories are idiosyncratic. They are the subjects that have been her inspirations and obsessions.

This project is a hybrid of a self-curated mid-career retrospective, estate sale and self-portrait. This volume takes its formal cues from the estate-sale catalogue (particularly from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate sale). Objects and images take center stage; they are the characters, the protagonists revealing a narrative. The book is lavish and beautiful, while touched with a melancholy and dark humor of an estate sale of someone still living.

Juror Notes

Well designed; the layout allows you to see Barbara Bloom as a person from an artist’s-catalogue perspective.

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2008
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book


Design firm
Barbara Bloom
Dave Hickey, Susan Tallman
Barbara Bloom
Julia Braun, Katja Töpfer (Steidl Digital Darkroom)
Production director
Bernard Fischer (Steidl)
Production coordinator
Martine Neider (ICP)
Picture editor
Yi-Ting Chung
Philomena Mariani (ICP) (publications)
ICP Steidl
Trim size
9.5 x 11.5
Adobe Caslon