“The Collections of Barbara Bloom”

Wexner Center for the Arts

At the entrance of “The Collections of Barbara Bloom,” a combined retrospective exhibition and mock “estate sale,” was a color chart. One of several works in a series titled “Naming: (Dedications),” its gridlike arrangement of mostly pastel hues was delicately didactic. Some of the associations were a take on the familiar: “blush” was a soft rose; “envy,” a pale green. But others inclined us to adjust our assumptions: “anon” was a neutral gray; “Lolita,” a cool violet. Associations uncoiled from these unexpected appellations; they bore echoes of experience and permeations of memory. “Naming” was a glossary for the senses.

Bloom’s palette appeared again in Sketch for the Presentation of a Fragrance Titled “a.k.a.,” 1998 (listed, as were all the works, with a lot number as in an estate sale), which consisted of twenty-two elegant perfume bottles arranged, with one exception, three to a shelf.

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