To receive Public Collectors announcements, simply email: marc [at] publiccollectors [dot] org and ask to be added to the emailing list.

Recent Announcements:

November 22, 2009

Dear Friends,

Starting on December 9th, the Public Collectors Study Center will open in Chicago.

Now don't envision some kind of monolithic, money-sucking structure that uses expensive corporate parties to fund its daily operations! The Study Center is small. How small? Is it bigger than a bread box? Yes, but not too many bread boxes. Located in the corner of a basement, with a floor-plan measuring just over fifty square feet, the Public Collectors Study Center seeks to create intimate and focused experiences.

The first exhibition begins on December 9th:


When Don Celender died in 2005, he left behind an unusually focused and accessible body of work that feels ripe for rediscovery. To be fair, however, many don't seem to have known about his work the first time around – particularly younger generations and those who did not see his solo exhibitions (almost all presented in New York), and have yet to encounter his books (mostly self-published and hard to find).

Celender lived most of his life in St. Paul, Minnesota where he taught Art History and Chaired the Art department at Macalester College for over forty years. Celender's books and exhibits most frequently took the form of collected results from surveys that were primarily conducted through the mail with single questions posed on official Macalester College stationary. Despite a great deal of writing about social practices and participatory artworks in recent years, mentions of Don Celender’s many survey projects, all dependent on the voices of others, are curiously absent from this critical discourse.
This is the first survey of Celender's work to be presented in Chicago.

Some of the books included in the exhibit:


Visitors to the exhibit will be able to pick up a free limited edition folio with materials on Celender published by Public Collectors.

Exhibition hours are from 5 - 8 PM on Wednesdays, starting on December 9, 2009 until February 10, 2010.
Note that the Study Center will be closed on Wednesday, December 23rd.
Additional hours can be scheduled by appointment. Call 773-395-4587 to plan a visit at another time.

Address: [listed publicly during exhibition dates]

Note that due to its very small size, the Study Center does not have opening receptions.
You do not need to make an appointment to visit during regular Wednesday hours.

I hope to see you soon,
Marc Fischer
Public Collectors


September 26, 2009

Dear Friends,

What a Summer it has been. After an incredible 14 years in the same apartment (my friends were sure I was going to die in that place) I finally moved. As a result, much of the Summer was spent packing thousands of books and records and papers, moving, and trying to set up the new place while maintaining some sense of order so that I wouldn't have to halt all other creative activities. Now the move is over and I'm settling in but the hectic pace of teaching, travel, and a lot of creative work with my mainstay, the group Temporary Services, have limited my time for Public Collectors. Several big posting projects mentioned in the last email still aren't finished. Hopefully soon!

I'll have more to announce in the coming months, but in the meantime, I do have something new to share.

Three of my friends recently independently converged and determined that I needed a Tumblr page. Normally when people insist that I need something, they are imploring me to get a cell phone, or join Facebook, or join one of the other things they used to think were essential but no longer use (ie. Myspace or Friendster). So I was skeptical.

But this time, they were right. Tumblr is fun and it suits me. So thank you Salem, Bonnie and Melinda.

It's official: Public Collectors is now on Tumblr!

This page consists of sample findings and excerpts. It is a place for small things and for fragments of much larger things. It is also an account of the contents of my apartment. If you are in Chicago or passing through and would like to see something in person, please contact me. Images are enlargeable so double click if something is too hard to read. This site is intended as a casual, more personal supplement to the main Public Collectors website.

In between larger posts and new collections on the main website, I will be posting on Tumblr on a very regular basis. There are a million things I want to share with you. Everything will be new material - new scans or original photos - no reblogging, links or Youtube videos. So take a look, "Follow" me if you like, and enjoy. I have not set up a "Comment" function on the Tumblr page because the only comments I see on the Tumblr pages of others are the customary "I like it!" or "I reblogged it!" This, my friends, is not a conversation. But if you see something you like and want to talk about it, please don't hesitate to email me.

all the best,
Marc Fischer

Photo: Detail of an ad for the album “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” by Arthur Brown from the November 1968 issue of EYE magazine.

May 20, 2009

Dear Friends, Collectors and Clutter Lovers,

It has been a busy period for Public Collectors and there are a lot of new things on the horizon. The website has been receiving more traffic than ever, new people are reaching out to share things and people are finding new ways to make use of the website and the collections contained therein.

First off, just a reminder that Public Collectors depends on you. Ask a collector to see something and draw on their knowledge. Better yet - think of a way to participate. Collections need not be gigantic to be shared and while I always want to encourage in-person encounters between collectors and the people who wish to see their stuff, there are many ways to take part in Public Collectors and digital collections are always welcome. Send me an idea for participation and let's work together to make it happen!


Recent uses of Public Collectors by others:

Public Collectors was proud to assist a massive web archive devoted to Merciful Fate and King Diamond by providing photos from a 1988 King Diamond concert in Philadelphia to enrich their collection (they already had a set list from this show). You can see their fine archiving work here:

The Swiss publisher Roll Press discovered the PDF of Ken Isaacs' book "How To Build Your Own Living Structures" on Public Collectors (provided by Let's Remake) and published a meticulous bootleg using the print-quality PDF hosted on Public Collectors. The book is available from Rollo by swap only so contact them and send them something great to get something great.


Recent Additions to Public Collectors:

Movies on VHS: Collection of Red Dot Rental, Iowa City, Iowa
An amazing offering of hundreds of dubbed movies that are now available for free rental. Josh Eklow writes: "Last November, I saw a listing on Freecycle for "1000 Movies on VHS". Being a film geek and sometimes-hoarder, I immediately tried to lay a claim on the tapes. When I found out that they were not store bought, but rather home-recorded from HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and the like, I knew that I had to have them. I opened a free "video-store" named Red Dot Rental, so that others may rent the tapes and join me in going through them, as a good majority of them are without labels." Start making popcorn, fire up the VCR and stop by University of Iowa and pick up a dubbed copy of "Meatballs 4" or "Orca" today!

Documentation of Food Songs Collected by Matt Bua
"Four or so years ago, finding myself immersed in deep politics surfing the dark web, the ability to collect food songs along the way became my "light research " to balance it all out. With programs like Wire Tap, I was able to grab more than I could digest." This is a massive collection of over 11 hours of MP3s. So much amazing stuff. The collection was recently written about by Los Angeles Magazine:

Documentation of Complete Publications in PDF form
One of the most popular pages and band-width consumers on Public Collectors keeps growing. New titles are:
"Advertising Matchbooks and Matchless Games"
"Working Big: A Teacher's Guide to Environmental Sculpture"
"Wayne Mazurek, Sketchbook"
Download and enjoy!

Drawings by Steffen Simon: Collection of Ann-Kristina Simon, London, United Kingdom
These drawings by a 13 year old boy can be viewed online (over 30 examples) as well as in person if you live near London, UK. The drawings of gadgets are particularly sweet.

Artists' Files & Archives: Collection of Marc Fischer, Chicago, IL, USA
This section is terminally in need of completion but in recent weeks I've been adding dozens of items to the preexisting files. Other collections, always a work in progress, will be inventoried as time permits.


On the horizon:

I'm still working on scanning a collection of over 180 photos that were given away by the Chicago-based artist John Rininger before he died. These will be online soon. It's a lot of work! Stevenleiberbasement in San Francisco has submitted over 150 photos of boxed artist's multiples along with over 6 hours of insightful audio discussion about these works. And on top of that, it will be possible to see the works in person by appointment. Look for that to be posted soon as well.
And more and more and more.


That is all for now. Thank you again for your interest in Public Collectors. If you are not interested, just reply and let me know to remove you and I'll stop sending these postings.

Hopefully it's warm where you are. Enjoy the weather and remember that if your local museum wants to charge $18.00 for general admission, you can always visit the air-conditioned public library or the object-filled homes of your friends for free.

all the best,
Marc Fischer / Public Collectors

Image: "Balloon" by Steffen Simon


February 11, 2009

Hello friends of Public Collectors

After a bit of a delay between updates I'm happy to announce some new additions to Public Collectors. Coming soon in the next update: scans of over 180 photos, postcards and pieces of ephemera from the home of the late Chicago artist John Rininger. Until then, enjoy the following:

Collections and Archives as a Creative Practice

This past fall I co-taught a Graduate Seminar of this title with Randall Szott of He Said, She Said and the Department of Aesthetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. You are welcome to visit the class's blog where you can find dozens of posts by the class's many energetic students as well as the course syllabus and readings.


Documentation of Complete Publications in PDF Form: 5 new downloads!

The following titles are now available for your free digital consumption:

How To Build Your Own Living Structures by Ken Isaacs, 1974
U.S. Border Patrol Museum, El Paso, Texas - kids coloring and activity book
Junior Museum Cards for the Hearing Impaired, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1979
Michalis Pichler - hearts, 2008
Jean Toche, I Accuse, 1968
Douglas Huebler, May 8 - June 14, 1970, The Addison Gallery of American Art


"Collections, Collecting, and the Collected" Class Notes by Tiffany Knopow

Tiffany Knopow has created a blog for PDFs of class notes from her entire college education. She writes: "This collection of notes is every note I have taken in an institution which I privately paid for…..all of my college education is available. Please feel free to use this information as you need and post comments or your own notes if you would like to participate in sharing."


Documentation of Cracks and Posters in Mexico by Jennifer Mannebach and David Wildfield, Chicago, IL, USA

"These photos were taken in Mexico City and Oaxaca. Most of the colorful buildings are from Oaxaca, where everything seemed to be in an equal state of decay - the posters seemed embedded in the peeling walls. In putting them with the other images I was thinking about places where things collect both intentionally (posters) and unintentionally (debris and wear and tear from human activity) and how it all seemed kind of the same."


The Passing of a Public Collector: Forrest J Ackerman

Forrest J Ackerman was a collector who knew what Public Collectors was about. Stories of visits to his home to see his incredible collections are legendary. We lost him at the end of 2008 but his generosity with his reknowned collection of sci-fi and horror memorabilia will not be forgotten. Sadly it has just been announced that the collection will be broken up and sold at auction.


"Tape Piracy... Everyone's Problem" - A Public Collectors Reprint

Man, what a fuckin' drag when you buy a new 8-track tape at the gas station in 1975 and it turns out to be... a bootleg!


Documentation of Album Covers Recreated with MS Paint

About 30 new album cover recreations added.


Everyone has something to share

Public Collectors depends on your participation to work. Think about your home and all of the crap in it. Surely you have something that would be interesting to someone else. Or maybe you've documented something that could be shared. Collections need not be large to be made public! Let a stranger who shares your interest into your home or let's find another way to accommodate them. Let me know what you have and how I can help you find an audience for it.

until soon,

Marc Fischer
Public Collectors
marc [at] publiccollectors [dot] org

November 17, 2008

Dear friends,

Public Collectors is happy to co-sponsor this event organized by He Said She Said:

Bill Keaggy:

Reception and Talk
Monday, November 17th at 5pm

He Said She Said
831 S. Grove Ave. Oak Park, IL

Bill will be presenting a portion of his immense collection of found grocery lists. He will also be giving a talk about collecting and his books.

The grocery list collection:

His books:

Bill Keaggy is a collector, maker and breaker of things. He works in photography, design, the web and found objects and is the author of two books. Keaggy lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, Diane, and their two children.

Sadly, I will not be in town to attend this myself, but I hope you can make it to see and hear about Bill's amazing collection.

all the best,


October 3, 2008

Hello friends of PUBLIC COLLECTORS,

Happy Fall. It has been quite some time since the last update. Summer was busy! In addition to a host of work, travel and forthcoming publications from my main collaboration (in the group Temporary Services) I'm currently team teaching a course titled "Collections and Archives as a Creative Practice" at University of Illinois at Chicago with Randall Szott of the Department of Aesthetics ( Finally, I've returned to working at Little City so don't be surprised if collections like Documentation of Joe Flasch's Hats and Costumes ( begin to expand once again.

Without further ado, here are some new public and digital collections for your viewing pleasure:

Artist and Exhibition Ephemera: Collection of Anthony Elms, Chicago, IL, USA

Formatting this astonishing collection of nearly 1750 pieces of ephemera for the web will be the death of me. Thus far, the html for this listing reaches the letter 'G' but you can download an Excel file that inventories everything. Have a look and let Anthony know if there is anything you want to see. And let me know if you want to intern for Public Collectors to help me format the rest of it!


Documentation of Complete Publications in PDF Form

Three great new books for your reading pleasure! Untitled by Céline Duval, Como Armaa 20 Cuerpos Geometricos by Carlos Chavez, and Domebook 2 by Lloyd Kahn. Special thanks to Let's Re-make ( for the PDF of Dome 2, and to Céline Duval for allowing a PDF of her long out of print book to be listed. Download away!


Documentation of Swiss Medicine Chests

Caroline Palla has been looking in the bathroom medicine cabinets of Swiss citizens and documenting their contents with a vintage medium format camera in beautiful black and white photos. Four dozen of these photos can now be viewed on Public Collectors!


Documentation of Album Covers Recreated with MS Paint

Music fans recreate their favorite album covers using MS Paint and a variety of other rudimentary graphics programs and the results are, well, hilarious! This archive presents a selection of over 140 examples generated by users of two different music discussion forums. AC/DC to ZZ Top and everything in between. Keep your eye on this collection - it is growing rapidly.


Thats all for now. As always, remember that Public Collectors depends on your participation. Got a collection you want to make public? Contact me! Want to see a collection that someone else has made public? Contact them!

all the best,

Marc Fischer
Public Collectors

Attached Image: "The Doors" from Documentation of Album Covers Recreated with MS Paint.


July 2, 2008

Hello friends of PUBLIC COLLECTORS,

Lots of new additions to the site this month, plus other happenings.

First off, on June 6th, a show focusing on Public Collections opened at the Art Gallery of Knoxville on 317 N. Gay Street in Knoxville Tennessee.
I will be in Knoxville this weekend.

On Saturday July 7, from noon until 7:00 PM all are invited to bring music-related fanzines, flyers and photos that predate the Internet for sharing and scanning. Any scans made will be uploaded to the Public Collectors website so that they can be read by all. I'll be filling my luggage with dozens of 'zines - from twenty year old old copies of Maximum Rock N Roll and Flipside, to old photocopied publications that were produced in tiny print runs.

At 7:00 PM on Saturday I'll be giving a talk about Public Collectors. I'll also be back in the space on Sunday for brunch and will be screening a surprise hard to see video that relates to the concerns of the project.

New online:

Documentation of Childhood Graffiti From Antique Sources - also on view at the Art Gallery of Knoxville!

Jean Hess of Knoxville, Tennessee has collected hundreds of example of children's markings, drawings, and writings in books that are at least 75 years old. She's been scanning a ton of them and you can now view over 75 of these on Public Collectors. Additionally, you can also see a lot of them in person at The Art Gallery of Knoxville right now! From Jean: "Much of what these children left behind spoke of familiar concerns – love and sadness; friendships and crushes; people, flowers, animals and mysterious creatures; homes and even the occasional car, truck or airplane. They have left messages, I think -- poignant signifiers of a rather naïve or innocent past that is lost to us."


Documentation of the Music Underground, Before the Internet

A trip to Philadelphia in June meant a trip to mom and dad's attic to drag out another box of old fanzines. Some of the findings have been turned into PDFs and can be seen online. New additions include interviews or features going back around 20 years with: Jello Biafra, Born Against, Hüsker Dü, Live Skull, Ian MacKaye, Will Shatter of Flipper and Swiz.

If you have material to loan for scanning or want to help by making PDFs that you can email to me, please let me know! This section will continue to grow with your support.


Documentation of Complete Publications in PDF form - on view at the Art Gallery of Knoxville!

This section of the Public Collectors website features entire publications that have been lovingly scanned which you can download for free. The original copies of these books are currently being exhibited in a Public Collectors show at The Art Gallery of Knoxville.

Another book has been addedl:

Cookie Mueller - Walking Through Clear Water In a Pool Painted Black, 1990, Semiotext(e) Native Agents Series, New York, 154 pages, offset, perfect bound.
From the back cover recommendation by John Waters: "Cookie Mueller wrote like a lunatic Uncle Remus - spinning little stories from Hell that will make any reader laugh out loud."


Records: Collection of Marc Fischer, Chicago, IL, USA

I've added about 60 more LPs since the last update. You can simply reply to this email if there is something you want to come over and see and hear. I'm in town most of July and a decent hunk of August. Still have at least 50 more records that need to be listed but that will have to wait for another update. A collector's work is never done!


Artists' Books: Collection of Anthony Elms, Chicago, IL, USA

Anthony has updated his collection again and a booklet with his collection inventory has been printed. You can download a PDF of it on the page linked above or pick up a free copy at the Art Gallery of Knoxville.

Anthony Elms has also finished the inventory list of his entire collection of Artists' Ephemera. 1700+ items! It's taking me forever to format for the website but it will be up soon.


The usual!

What do you have to share? How can you make your collections and resources available to others? Public Collectors is always looking for more participants based anywhere in the world. Also, many sections of the website are more quietly updated on a regular basis so keep looking around!

Thanks for reading,
Marc Fischer

May 13, 2008

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - May 2008 Updates!

Hello friends of PUBLIC COLLECTORS,

Welcome to the May update of new things you can find online and in the world. Lots to look at this time around. I'm particularly excited to share the book The Unforgettable Fire, which is one of the most moving collections of drawings I have ever seen. It has affected me greatly over the years and is a continued source of power and inspiration.


Documentation of the Music Underground, Before the Internet

A big new digital collection on Public Collectors. Check out dozens of photos and flyers and over 100 pages of interviews and articles scanned from underground music 'zines from the early 1980's through the early 1990's. Some of the 'zines these scans came from were photocopy jobs that were limited to only a couple hundred copies. None of this stuff can be found online. Among the bands included:

Born Against, Butthole Surfers, Carcass, Die Kreuzen, The Ex, Fugazi, Gregg Ginn, Killdozer, Lärm, Laughing Hyenas, Sonic Youth, Voivod and more.

If you have material to loan for scanning or want to help by making PDFs that you can email to me, please let me know! This section will continue to grow with your support.


Documentation of Complete Publications in PDF form - 3 entire new books added!

This section features entire publications that have been lovingly scanned which you can download for free. In addition to the other 8 books, you can now download:

The Unforgettable Fire - Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors, Edited by Japan Broadcasting Corporation, 1981, Pantheon Books, New York, 116 pages, offset, perfect bound.
From the back cover: "The art in this book was a response to a request broadcast on a morning television program in Japan for drawings from atomic bomb survivors. The results were immediate. The television station was inundated with drawings. So powerful were the survivors' desires to share their memories that they turned to whatever materials were at hand – pencils, crayons, watercolors, Magic Markers, colored pencils, India ink – and drew on the backs of calendars, advertisements, bills, or even the paper used to cover Japanese sliding doors. Some drew on the backs of children's scribbled papers, probably those of their grandchildren."

Clegg & Guttmann - The Outdoor Exhibition Space: Munich - San Francisco, 1992, published by K-Raum Daxter, Munich, 52 pages, 8 1/2 " X 10 5/8 ", perfect bound.
From the introduction by Karola Grässlin: "Clegg & Guttmann declared a road underpass with no relation to art to be an exhibition space that, for the public, was an unfamiliar one and brought back (in the form of photographs resulting from this expansion of potential art sites) the exhibition to its original location, the K-raum Daxer sponsored by art patrons, Mr. and Mrs Daxer."

Bruno Richard, Elles Sont De Sortie (E.S.D.S.) #19 Kolor Love, published by Futuropolis, 1986, 44 pages, 6 " X 7.5", color printing with rubber stamp on cellophane cover, staple-bound.
This early publication by Paris-based artist Bruno Richard consists of garishly colored and highly agressive drawings abstracted from photos of women and men in the military. This rare publication is posted with kind permission from the author. To see more visit:


Adult Comics From Mexico - 10 new covers added!

Every time it seems like Mexican comics can't get any more problematic or lurid, they top themselves yet again. Come see the latest exploding eyeballs and men dipped in liquid nitrogen and smashed with a sledge hammer. Oh, and the torture and humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib? That has now been featured in a comic as well. Unbelievable.


Looking for more collectors and looking for feedback

What do you have to share? How can you make your collections and resources available to others? Public Collectors is particularly looking for collectors in and around Chicago and Knoxville for events this summer. Please get in touch if you'd like to participate in any aspect of this ongoing work and visit:

Also, how is Public Collectors working out for you? Are you finding material that is interesting? Have you downloaded any of this stuff? Is the website easy to navigate? What kind of things would you like to see more of? What might make this project a better resource? Is it the most pointless thing you've ever seen? You can be honest. Let me know what you think!

all the best,
Marc Fischer
marc [at] publiccollectors [dot] org

April 11, 2008


Hello freaks with file cabinets, downtrodden downloaders, and eccentrics excited by ephemera,

Welcome to another Public Collectors update. There are a few new things I must draw your attention to:

3 new PDFs of Complete Publications!

Erving Goffman, Gender Advertisements, Introduction by Vivian Gornick. 1987 Harper Torche edition, 100 pages, 8 1/2 " X 11", perfect bound.
"Gender Advertisements is concerned with the behavioural representations of our cultural assumptions about the nature of the sexes. The first part of the book deals with the properties of gender displays... Erving Goffman then discusses the nature of photography and the relations of photographs to what they purport to picture. Finally he presents in detail the ways in which gender, especially the female gender, is presented in popular advertisements." - from the back cover. Out of print and an invaluable resource.

Michael Gira, Three Stories By M. Gira: MTV And The Cult Of The Body / The Idiot / My Birth, 1996, 25 single sided 8.5" X 11" photocopies, self-published.
From the Swans Discography: "This photocopied packet of stories was sold on the 1997 tour. It includes four illustrations by Gira (one for each story and the cover drawing). The cover is dated 1996 but the copyright information is listed as 1996/97." There are actually six drawings in total but Gira's astonishing writing is the primary reason for posting this obscure publication.

Marc Fischer, 9 Years of Mail: Bruno Richard / Marc Fischer, 2006, 24 pages, 8.5" X 5.25", black and white laser printing, Columbia College Center for Book & Paper, staple-bound.
Created for the occasion of an exhibition at Columbia College, Chicago titled "Exalted Trash", this booklet focuses on the friendship and postal correspondence of artists Fischer and Richard. The booklet includes examples of their mailings to each other, along with a brief interview with Bruno Richard by Marc Fischer.

Find and download all of them here:


In Digital Collections:

Documentation of People Documenting Anti-War Protesters
"I took these photos while walking down North Michigan Avenue as a participant in the Chicago Anti-War Protest on March 19, 2008. The people I photographed were standing close to us on the sidelines but didn't seem to see us except through their cameras (or phones). A couple of the photographers were so intent on framing their shots that they never even noticed me taking their pictures. Others seemed surprised at the intrusion when I snapped their photos right after they took pictures of me." - Jen Blair


Public Collectors needed! Calls for participation

More participants are always needed and desired for Public Collectors, so never hesitate to respond or forward this call to others who may have interesting things to share.

Public Collectors is particularly seeking collectors in the Tennessee area who would be willing to talk about, loan, present or otherwise display their collection(s) at the The Art Gallery of Knoxville throughout the Summer of 2008. Ideally, Public Collectors would like to encourage you to make your collection accessible to interested parties beyond the length of a short-term gallery exhibit. Collections need not consist of items that are rare, valuable, or classified as “art”. Small, focused collections are welcome, as are large unwieldy accumulations.

Public Collectors is also seeking collectors in Chicago and vicinity for some events this summer at Mess Hall in Rogers Park. Again, please forward this email to anyone you know that might be interested.

Finally, because it's such a great graphic and seems fitting for the kind of extremely important research that Public Collectors cares about, attached please find a historical charting of the changing band memberships and hair styles of the group Black Flag. Thanks to Anthony Elms for the tip and WFMU for blogging it.

all the best,
Marc Fischer
Public Collectors

February 20, 2008

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - February Updates

Dear collectors of objects collecting dust, accumulators of unnecessary crap, and protectors of all that must be preserved even if you can't fully explain why it's worth saving.

Welcome to the late February update of things that Public Collectors has made available. Below are some new things to look for and explore.

Documentation of Complete Publications in PDF form
This section of Public Collectors is devoted to scans of entire publications, cover to cover, in PDF form. You can download the PDFs by clicking on the scan of the publication cover. All of the publications included are out of print, hard to find, and in some cases exceedingly rare or expensive to purchase on the secondary market. So far you'll find scans of the notorious comic book Amputee Love, TV and Your Child by Very Rev. Msgr. Edwin B. Broaderick, Ph.D., Observations, Protestations, and Lamentations of Museum Guards Throughout the World by Don Celender, an exhibition catalog on the artist-run restaurant FOOD, and the first issue of trans formation : arts communication environment. More titles are forthcoming.

Angelo's List of Books Read in Prison in 2007
Angelo is an artist who is currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison in California. He is a voracious reader, however, nearly everything he reads comes from either the prison library or other inmates. Even if one had the resources to buy a lot of books, the amount of personal property that inmates can retain in prison is extremely limited. These lists that Angelo assembles each year document not only what he has read, but convey the range of books that some American prisoners have access to in the institutions.

"Visits to the Picture Collection and a Meeting with Librarian Margarete Gross" by Marc Fischer
The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago has one of the few remaining collections of clipped photos from magazines and books that library patrons can use for research or even check out and take home. For many years Margarete Gross was the primary librarian placed in charge of building and maintaining this collection. In 2003 I met with her to discuss the collection and her work. Margarete retired from library work several years later but she remains passionate about art and images. This 16 page booklet was created for an exhibition in 2003. You can download a free PDF of it here (modified slightly from the original).

Adult Comics From Mexico: Collection of Marc Fischer, Chicago, IL, USA
I've added more of these comics to my collection and have scanned the covers of 12 of them. Old men being smashed in the back of the head with a hammer? Women coupling with space aliens? A bag filled with a cut up baby? Severed heads? Gouged eyes? Sex maniac dwarf repairmen? Mexican comics have all this and more!

Freak Wave
Public Collectors contributed 4 pages of Mexican comic cover scans to a beautifully produced book titled Freak Wave that just was just released by Orbis Pictus Club in France. The book includes transgressive art and writings from a slew of artists including Anne Van der Linden, Olivier Allemane, Angelo, Jean-Louis Costes, Kiki Picasso, Gregory Jacobsen and many more. An exhibition around the book is forthcoming and will include many copies of these comics from Mexico on loan. More details on that later.

and finally:

Make your collections public!
Public Collectors is always seeking new collection inventories from people that have great things they want to share. Anyone anywhere can participate. Learn more here:
Here are the collections you can visit so far:

Thanks for reading. If you'd rather not get these emails, just let me know.

all the best,

December 31, 2007

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - January Updates: Bruno Richard's mail at Mess Hall, a new booklet, Adult comics from Mexico and more

Hi everyone,
Happy almost 2008.
A few things to announce so without elaboration, here are the details:


10 years of mail from French artist Bruno Richard

Saturday, January 12, 2008, 1:00-6:00 PM
One day only! Free!
at MESS HALL, 6932 N. Glenwood Ave., Rogers Park, "Morse" Stop on the Red Line EL,

For this afternoon event I will allow viewers to peruse 10 years of packages sent to me by the French artist Bruno Richard over the course of our long friendship. This collection consists of easily 60 pounds of papers, magazines, photocopied drawings, writings, junk mail, mock ups of publications, CDrs, and whatever else Richard could stuff into an envelope. Materials from these mailings were included last year in the exhibition "Exalted Trash" at Columbia College Chicago's Center for Book and Paper Art, however they were largely kept out of reach under Plexiglass vitrines. For this showing visitors will be able to look at anything they want. A free poster for the event will also be available to take.

Paris-based artist Bruno Richard (b. 1956) has been publishing books and magazines of transgressive drawings, text, and photo-based work since 1976. Long working under the sarcastically chosen name Elles Sont de Sortie (roughly translated: the girls are going out), Richard collaborated with the late artist Pascal Doury until his death in 2001. Richard continues to work under the E.S.D.S. imprint on his own. His work has been included in Art Spiegelman's seminal comic magazine RAW as well as the RE/Search books "Pranks!" and "'Zines!" Richard's work can be seen online at Doury is Dead ( and E.S.D.S. (

Bruno Richard pokes at taboo subjects from suicide and torture to interracial sex, bodily functions, health problems, violence against women, and the discomfort people feel talking about how much money they make and how they spend it. He makes diaries that include every film he has seen, what medications he is on and other revealing lists. Bruno implicates himself and his own relationships in the margins of many of the scenarios he frequently re-draws from scavenged photos. The work is constantly self-deprecating.

PLEASE NOTE: Bruno Richard's drawings and photo-based works often feature very strong adult content and his mailings sometimes include similarly hard materials from other sources. Nothing will be censored from the packages so consider yourself warned.

Bruno has asked that we try to count the total number of pieces of paper in all of the packages. If you are good at counting and up for the challenge of a lifetime, please attend!


Subspace Archive Artists' Periodicals Inventory Booklet
A 28 page printed inventory booklet for the Artists' Periodicals collection of Subspace Archive in De Pere, WI will be available for free at the Mess Hall event on January 12th. If you'd like a copy in PDF form, you can download it here: 1b.pdf


Adult Comics From Mexico: Collection of Marc Fischer, Chicago, IL, USA
A new collection you can visit in Chicago. Rather than typing out the 22 different issues, I scanned all of their covers. To see this incredibly lurid collection of graphics, be 18 years old and click here:
If you want to see these in person, just email me. Don't be ashamed (but do know that most of the comics don't really live up to their astonishing cover art).


MP3 Jukebox: Songs from the Record Collection of Marc Fischer
I took a small collection of songs from my record collection that I ripped to MP3 and put them online. I stuck to things that are way out of print (as far as I can tell) and/or damn hard to find. Fifteen tracks are posted so far, including a little handful from my sizable collection of albums that were recorded inside prisons. I'll add more things here and there so check back. As always, if there is anything you want to see or hear in person, just contact me and we can set up a time.


A brief talk about Public Collectors in Chicago
Saturday, January 19, 2008.
Also at Mess Hall (see address above) as part of a rich weekend of "Library of Radiant Optimism" events in Chicago organized by Let's Remake. Check in with the Mess Hall calendar a little closer to the time for more exact details. It'll be a short talk - around 20 minutes, as part of a very exciting day of programming.

The first half of that day's program will consist of the following:

11:00-12:00 – Brunchluck
12:00-14:00 – Six 20-minute talks: Jakob Jakobsen-Copenhagen Free University, Material Exchange, Finn Thybo Andersen + Kirsten Dufrou Andersen-YNKB, Sarah Ross (Books to Prisoners, Prison Education Program), Marc Fischer (Public Collectors)


The same old same old:

About Public Collectors:

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

If you have a collection that you'd like to make public, please contact me and let's make it available.


Have a great new year and thank you for your support of this still new project. The dialogs I've had with many of you have been truly gratifying. Here's to more of them in 2008.

Marc Fischer

December 4, 2007

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - December Updates: Philip von Zweck's collections, Espacio La Culpable Flyers, more Records and Anti-Car Barriers!

Hello friends, home library reference desk sitters, connoisseurs of crap and hopeless pack rats

Welcome to the December update of recent additions to the ever-expanding network of resources, materials and people that is Public Collectors. Here's what's up:


Documentation of Electronic Flyers by Espacio La Culpable, 2006 & 2007
Espacio La Culpable is an artist-run space and artist collective based in Lima, Perú. They commonly design electronic flyers that they attach to email announcements for their exhibitions, projects and events. These pages show a large selection of these announcements from 2006 and 2007. Thirty flyers online so far!


Artist's Books & Ephemera: Collection of Philip von Zweck, Chicago, IL, USA
Well over 200 artist's books and pieces of ephemera from the collection of Philip von Zweck have now been inventoried and are currently available for your in-person viewing pleasure. There's a lot of great and obscure stuff here. Of particular note (in my opinion!) is Philip's large collection of hard to see materials by Bern Porter and a number of other artists and experimental writers associated with Something Else press.


7" Records : Collection of Philip von Zweck, Chicago, IL, USA
Also new to Public Collectors is Philip's collection of over 200 7" records. Here you'll find a lot of obscure noise records by bands like The Gerogererigegege and Strangulated Beatoffs but you can also delight in four different Star Trek records or "The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes". Check out the list, make an appointment and you can listen to Philip's records while you read his books.


Documentation of Syllabi - Collected by Philip von Zweck
"Every syllabus I have written is based in some part on someone else’s syllabus, either from a class I have taken, given to me by the institution, or sent to me by someone who had previously made one. I have found it very useful to have access to other people’s syllabi in making my own and on occasion I have shared syllabi with others for their use. I am asking that if you have made syllabi that you are willing to share, please send them to me to be posted online. I think it would be best if they were an attachment in a Word or rtf format - some form which is easy for people to modify. Syllabi may be posted anonymously. If you’re willing to be involved please send me syllabi that you’re comfortable sharing. And please forward this to others who might be willing to take part."

Syllabi can be sent to: pvonzweck [at] yahoo [dot] com


Records: Collection of Marc Fischer, Chicago, IL, USA - UPDATED!
Damn have I been accumulating too many records lately. Sold a few things here and there but that naturally meant that I just accumulated other stuff with the trade value or went off elsewhere to do some deep digging. Since the Public Collectors site launched a few months ago, about 40 records have been added to this inventory and you can hear any of them if you email me and set up a time. Free hot tea provided if desired.


Documentation of Anti-Car Barriers in Chicago - UPDATED!
I've started to photograph these again and there are 16 new photos in this Digital Collection for your anti-car barrier viewing pleasure.


Old but never past its expiration date:

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged. If you'd like to participate in some way, please get in touch!

Marc Fischer

November 1, 2007

Dear friends, collector nerds, documentary photographers and bibliophiles,

Welcome to another Public Collectors update. Without further ado, here are some new additions to the website to start off your November. Other pages have also been updated with additional material but I'll let you find that on your own. Here's the brand new stuff:

Artist's Books: Collection of Anthony Elms, Chicago, IL, USA
Anthony Elms has one hell of a home library and now you can visit it, in person. His inventory of well over 500 artist's books is now posted along with his contact information. Go ahead, email him and ask to see something. Other collections from Elms are forthcoming, including an inventory of 1,000+ pieces of artist's ephemera.


Documentation of Things Left Behind
Over 75 photos from Mike Benedetto: "From June to August of 2002, I photographed creations my 4-year-old son left behind during his visits with me. These things were documented after he was taken home to his mother."


Documentation of a concert by King Diamond
A day late for Halloween. Sorry! This photo set collects every picture that I took at a November 11, 1988 concert by King Diamond in Philadelphia. Be afraid.


Documentation of a concert by Killdozer
Madison's finest presented in 3 pages of photos from January, 1990 in Pittsburgh. Exactly 1 photo of Killdozer from their heyday can be found on If you have pre-digital camera and pre-internet material like this sitting around waiting to be scanned, I want to hear from you. You scan it and describe it; I'll host it.


Collection Websites
A slew of links to great websites that people have made for their collections. Special thanks to Randall Szott of for providing many great links. Know of interesting sites that I'm missing? Send me your URLs!


The usual spiel:

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged.

If you have ideas for participation, please get in touch and let's work together to make your collections and knowledge public.

til next time,
Marc Fischer
Public Collectors

September 24, 2007

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - Last week at VONZWECK / interview / Website updates

Hello friends, archivists, amateur librarians, and the hording disorder afflicted,

Thursday, September 27th from 6-9 PM is your last chance to see first Public Collectors exhibition at Vonzweck.
Vonzweck is located at 1626 N. Humboldt Blvd., Chicago

I'll be there playing records from my collection until about 8:45 when I've gotta cut out a little early to see The Melvins at the Double Door. If there is anything you'd like to hear, please make a selection from this list and I'll have it there waiting for you:
Last week we enjoyed records from the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Live Skull, Come, AC/DC, Sweet Marie, Venom P. Stinger, Grong Grong, and Noxagt. I just updated the records list again to add about 10 more titles so make selections, bring some beer if you like, and we'll enjoy one last Vonzweck listening session. After that, you've gotta come to my apartment (which has its own charms).

Public Collectors interview on

I was interviewed extensively by my friend, colleague, concert-going companion, and fellow collector nerd Anthony Elms for the Chicago-based podcast Bad At Sports. The hopelessly long interview has now posted and you can listen to it all here:

NEW at

Documentation of 7" Record Picture Sleeves

Great photo documentation is often posted to accompany objects for sale on eBay, however if you don't grab the photos fast, they quickly disappear into the ether of the internet once the bidding ends. Posted here is documentation of beautifully designed 7" record picture sleeves that I found back in July of 2006.

Digital Documentation of Bibles Stolen From Hotels

Philip von Zweck scanned the notations he made inside 28 Gideon bibles that he has removed from hotels and motels around the U.S. since 1991. "This is not a thorough record of every hotel room I have been in; it is a record of the ones that had Bibles."

Digital Documentation of Hotel Door Signs

Paul Lloyd Sargent has made beautiful scans of his collection of those little signs that you hang off your doorknob when you want to be left alone or have someone clean your room. He writes: "I drove across the country at least twice a year and set a goal to hit every state in the lower 48 by the time I was thirty (I never made it to Maine for some strange reason, despite being 15 miles from the border on the same day I was in New Hampshire for the first time). Along the way, I started to pick up crap from everywhere I'd stay (when I wasn't couch crashing, that is)."

Hording Disorder for Sale? (Two Massive Record Collections)

Photos from two men who amassed too much and then tried to sell it all.


Old news / still relevant:

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged. If you'd like to participate in some way, please get in touch!

Marc Fischer

September 2, 2007

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - events at Vonzweck in Chicago start Thursday, September 6, 6-9 PM

Hello friends, material culture obsessives and unabashed collector nerds,

The first Public Collectors exhibition and event will take place at Vonzweck this Thursday, September 6, 2007 from 6-9 PM.
Vonzweck is located at 1626 N. Humboldt Blvd., Chicago
Hours: Thursdays in September, 6-9 PM.

The walls of the space are covered with records and you'll be able to pick up the first free Public Collectors publication. Print outs of the Artists' Periodicals and Artist's Files inventories of Subspace Archives in De Pere, Wisconsin are also on view. (see:

I will give an informal talk about Public Collectors at 7 PM on September 13th.

On September 20 and 27 during hours from 6-9 PM, I will bring in and let you play any records from my collection that you want to hear. Feel free to make a selection from this list and pick a date when you’d like to see and listen to it. It'll be there waiting for you.
If nothing is selected, I'll be there playing records anyway, which means you're probably going to have to listen to really scummy underground rock produced in Australia from 1983-93. So consider that a warning or a welcome.

In addition to the regular Thursday evening hours, Vonzweck is open by appointment and I have a set of keys during the run of the show so if you can't make it during the normal times, just email me and we can plan a meeting time that works for you.


NEW this week at

The Hording Habits of Another Mother

A woman named Beth contributed this documentation of her mother's New York house. These photos were taken early in the summer of 2007. At the time of the photos Beth felt that things had improved somewhat compared to years past. More recently she reports, "I was gone most of last week... I came home to find out the upstairs hall ceiling collapsed as the roof is leaking and the weight of the stuff up there was too much... if anything the house has gotten worse... The entire house, the one bedroom apartment attached to it, a storage unit and a warehouse are all full."


Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged.

Marc Fischer
Public Collectors

August 24, 2007

Subject: PUBLIC COLLECTORS - an introduction and invitation

Dear friends, allies, and potential collaborators,

This email is to introduce you to a new initiative I've started: Public Collectors.

Please allow me a minute to tell you about it, with the hope that you might like to participate in some way.

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

Public Collectors asks that collectors allow the contents of their collection to be published and permit those who are curious to directly experience the objects in person. Participants must be willing to type up an inventory of their collection, provide a means of contact and share their collection with the public. Collectors can be based in any geographic location.

In addition to hosting collection inventories and other information, the Public Collectors website hosts digital collections that are suitable for web presentation, do not have a physical material analog, or are difficult or impossible to experience otherwise.

There are many ways you can potentially participate in this project and I'm anxious to hear your ideas and proposals. Currently two collections are fully inventoried on the website and ready for you to visit: my own collection of about 975 records in Chicago, and an extraordinary collection of several thousand Artists' Periodicals and items in the Artist's Files of Subspace Archive in De Pere, Wisconsin. Many additional collections will be added as they are inventoried and made available. Let me know what you have! Got flyers from underground concerts in your city? A 'zine collection? Rare 8mm films? Hopelessly obscure books and magazines? Field recordings on reel to reel and cassette? Anything that is hard to see, under-appreciated by libraries and museums, and that would benefit from an in-person experience you can host is something I want to know about.

In the Digital Collections section of the website, you can see photos of anti-car barriers in Chicago, face painting vendor displays in Mexico City, documentation of early concerts by The Jesus Lizard, costumes by artist Joe Flasch and more. If you have unusual and rare documentation of a performance, event or project that you'd like to share, I want to know about it!

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged. It is not intended for buying and selling objects.

The first Public Collectors events will take place at Vonzweck in Chicago starting on September 6th. I'll be filling you in about that in a separate email.

I expect that announcements about this project will be fairly irregular, however if you'd prefer not to receive them, just let me know.

Thank you and all the best,

Marc Fischer
Public Collectors


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