The Barbican’s latest exhibition Magnificent Obessions: The Artist as Collector is far from your regular retrospective or blockbuster display, offering a chance to have a peek at some of the fascinating personal collections of a wide range of contemporary artists from Andy Warhol to Peter Blake. The exhibition is something of a hoarder’s dream with popular memorabilia, one of a kind nick-nacks and all sorts of other weird and wonderful specimens, objects and curiosities all brought together under one roof offering an absorbing insight into the minds of the artists.

The innovative exhibition displays the collections next to examples of the artists output providing curious and revealing new aspects to the work. Insights into the inspiration and motives of the artists aside however, the collections are fascinating in themselves. From miniature elephants and cookie jars to tribal skulls and medical instruments, there really does seem to be a little bit of everything on display in these inspiring collections.




This exhibition will speak to the hidden (or not so hidden!) hoarder spirit in all of us underlining the importance of never throwing something important away, or for the more minimalistic, the value of curating our accumulated junk over the years into a connoisseur’s collection. Whichever you are Magnificent Obsessions is well worth a visit for a the chance to delve into the secret obsessive world of some of  the most important artists of the post-war period.  Magnificent Obsessions runs at the Barbican until the 25th of May with a number of related talks and events over the course of the exhibition’s run.







Photography by Peter McDiarmid