Monday, January 30, 2012

The Richard Harris Collection

Art collector Richard Harris, while visiting an art fair in 2001 in the Netherlands about the inevitability of death, had an epiphany of sorts. Why not start collecting art that deals with death as its theme? More than a decade later Harris now owns over 1500 pieces of art and artifacts that deal with the subject of death.  I think Harris should be an honorary pallimed member, since our mission has been to explore all things art and humanities, related to the subject of death.

Harris's art works are really a Memento Mori or "remember you will die" collection. The representation of death is that of a skeleton, rather than a depiction of the process of dying itself. The symbolism still invites the viewer to examine death and contemplate mortality, while still being somewhat removed.  Harris, age 74, told an interviewer that the collection also provides him with inspiration, he said that, "before I do die, before death does come to me...I should put together something of an overall view of death from my perspective."

The collection spans over 6,000 years in time, with historical as well as contemporary works. There are artifacts and photographs and cultural materials all exploring death. Starting January 28 and running through July 8 some of Harris's massive collection will be displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center in an exhibit entitled, "Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection"

To read more about the exhibit and learn more about Richard Harris visit the Chicago Cultural Center.  To see a few more images of his collection go here.

 All images are part of the Richard Harris Collection. 

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