Monday, August 12, 2013

Harley Spiller and Mmuseumm

This is Harley Spiller, and he has more menus than you.

Also known as Inspector Collector, he has amassed record-breaking collections of a variety of items (spoons, autographs, chopsticks, take-out boxes, flyers, postcards, shopping lists), most of which have no actual financial value. The Harley Spiller Menu Collection consists of more than 10,000 items, spanning predominantly from 1981 to 2009. The collection totals 40 linear feet and has been recognized by Guinness as the world's largest. If ever challenged, he claims he will happily relinquish the title rather than re-count.

We saw him give a presentation on counterfeit and altered currency last Sunday. It was hosted in an alley, in front of mmuseumm - a 60 square foot gallery space housed in an abandoned Tribeca freight elevator. A garage door opens at street level to reveal a decked out miniscule museum. The artifacts and found objects are typically on loan from hobbyists and artists, and have included items from Californian prisons, newsstand paper weights, paper left behind in photocopier machines, and discarded food photography. The prisoner inventions (curated by Baron Von Fancy) ranged from artworks carved with a pencil out of soap, to functional items like a pair of dice made from bread. The collection of pages left in copiers comes from the archives of artist Leah Singer and the food photography, collected by Alexandra Eaton, was a series of rejected shots for a Cambodian menu. Last year Tom Sachs presented 'moon rocks'.

Mmuseumm's gift shop consists of three shelves, and its cafeteria is a pot of coffee.

The display when we visited last week included bullet proof Disney backpacks, personal artifacts from Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein, New York tip jars, and a surprisingly diverse collection of fake vomit from around the world.

It's an incredible space, and the talk (though we had to leave half-way through, to catch our flight) was a highlight of the trip.

Visit their website here:

1 comment:

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