Elizabeth Berdann | Berdann’s 21st Century Collection of Marvels, Mysteries and Wonders (Shelburne piece)

Berdann’s 21st Century Collection of Marvels, Mysteries and Wonders, 2009

Watercolor, pins
42” x 32”

The concept for this miniature painting installation arose in response to a Shelburne Museum invitation to tour the museum. Inspired by the Museum’s circus poster collection, specifically by 19th century sideshow advertisements, my own collection of contemporary freakishness took shape. The format of the 19th century circus poster, with its separate cartouche entries and offensive (to our modern ears) language, guided the installation of this work. Instead of defining physical oddity from a public point of view, I queried friends about their own perception of what differentiated them physically, made them feel abnormal or exceptional; those personal observations are presented in my Collection.
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