Public Collectors - last update of the year 2018
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2018 was a year of continuing ongoing projects as well as starting some new ones. As per usual lately, I made a fresh batch of publications, which is a trend that is sure to continue in 2019. Public Collectors is a project that continues to evolve and I'm grateful to all of you for following its twists and turns.

— Marc Fischer / Public Collectors
The Courtroom Artist Residency Report: Residencies #1-4
[Purchase or see more images]

The first collection of reports from Public Collectors' new meal-based artist residency program.

For this residency program, artists and creative workers are invited to observe approximately three hours of court proceedings with me at Cook County Criminal Court on 2600 S. California in Chicago. Following court, I treat the resident to a meal at Taqueria El Milagro in Little Village, where we talk about our observations over lunch. Each residency lasts approximately six hours including transportation within Chicago, to and from court. Each residency is also accompanied by a $20.00 donation to the Chicago Community Bond Fund (the approximate value of two meals at Taqueria El Milagro).

The Courtroom Artist Residency Report collects detailed accounts of the first four residencies. Featured in this booklet are discussions with Peggy Pierrot, Wes Janz (who contributes an additional essay), Salem Collo-Julin, and Dmitry Samarov—who made a number of drawings during his residency. Together we observed some challenging cases including the murder trial of former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, and a hearing for Gerald Reed who was convicted of a murder he did not commit 28 years ago, following a forced confession made after being tortured by detectives working under Jon Burge.

This project has generated a lot of interest and there is now a waiting list of over 20 artists that are interesting in participating. Residencies typically happen once a month but I may accommodate more artists when possible. Since the publication of this booklet in December, I observed court with Edward Marszewski who observed a hearing for Gerald Reed that granted him a new trial and tossed out his conviction. Two residencies are scheduled for January of this year. Please get in touch if you would like to be added to the waiting list. Or, better yet, don't wait for me and go observe court with a friend or talk to someone you meet while you are there! We have every right to be in these spaces, difficult as they are.
Joong Boo Residency: 2016-2018

After two years and 38 delicious Korean meals, I stopped granting artists residencies at Joong Boo Market and wrapped up the project with a booklet: The Meal-Based Artist Residency. The project inspired several residencies that adopted a similar model and the latest iteration is Build Coffee's Meal-Based Residency (Photo courtesy of Build's Bea Malsky). Build allows artists to apply for an exhibit in their shop and those who are selected get to enjoy three free meals a week for the entire run of their show. Amazingly generous! If you live anywhere near Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, do pay Build a visit. Their coffee and baked treats are delicious and you can usually buy the latest Public Collectors booklets from them as well.

Picture Collection Subjects

For many years The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago had one of the few remaining collections of clipped photos from magazines and books that library patrons could use for research or even check out and take home.

The Picture Collection was dismantled and discarded in late 2015. In October 2016 I became the owner of the Picture Collection subject heading file cards. A librarian had alerted me that they were going to be thrown away so I rushed to the library with a suitcase. It wound up taking two trips to rescue about 130 pounds of index cards but I was able to save all of them. I have begun posting scans of them at this Instagram account which will serve as their new public home: @picturecollectionsubjects.

Please feel free to use the scans as you wish (for example, to make a Haiku-like construction as above, about the conditions surrounding immigration and asylum seekers in the US). The subject heading cards will be presented in various sequences subject to my own choosing, in no particular order, on no particular schedule. For users of Instagram, you may wish to see these posts as invitations to visualize photos of each subject as the subject headings appear in your feed. The pictures associated with each file are gone so we'll just have to reconstruct them mentally or through other means.


Soon after making a difficult publication (The Courtroom Artist Residency Report), I decided to also make a really absurd publication that I knocked out in a day or two. So I made this, which is Public Collectors booklet #36: STRETCH IS STILL SOFT. This 20 page booklet continues what is becoming kind of a Public Collectors sub-series of printed texts pulled from internet sources (see MATALICA TICKETS and 54 Hits From Hell). I made about 115 copies. It's not listed for sale anywhere and it's not going to be in stores. It's absolutely ridiculous and I kind of love it. It's like a pornographic novella for people who grade the condition of 40 year old toys with a microscope. If you want one, just order any printed thing from Half Letter Press and leave a comment asking for a copy and I'll send you one until they run out.
Thank you for following this work as I continue refine my ideas about what Public Collectors is for, and how others might participate and share in my explorations along the way. Oh and in case you were wondering about the Library Excavations series (which produced two new issues this year: #8 and #9), I'm still hard at work on that too. There will surely be more issues to come in 2019 (I'm extra indecisive lately about what they will be) and you can keep following my journey through the photos I post here.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.
— Marc / Public Collectors

Public Collectors organizes exhibitions and events, participates in exhibitions organized by others, creates exhibition opportunities for collectors, teaches, lectures, responds to research inquiries, and makes its own publications. The administrator of Public Collectors is Marc Fischer. He is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Our mailing address is:
Public Collectors c/o
Half Letter Press
P.O. Box 12588
Chicago, IL 60612

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