An object in a museum case

Utz spent hours in the museums of Dresden, scrutinising the ranks of Commedia dell’ Arte figures that had come from the royal collections. Locked behind glass, they seemed to beckon him into their secret, Lilliputian world — and also to cry for their release. His second publication was entitled ‘The Private Collector’:

‘An object in a museum case’, he wrote, ‘must suffer the de-natured existence of an animal in the zoo. In any museum the object dies — of suffocation and the public gaze – whereas private ownership confers on the owner the right and the need to touch. As a young child will reach out to handle the thing it names, so the passionate collector, his eye in harmony with his hand, restores to the object the life-giving touch of its maker. The collector’s enemy is the museum curator. Ideally, museums should be looted every fifty years, and their collections returned to circulation . . . ‘

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