Other People’s Things: On Benjamin Kelley & Morgan Kempthorn’s Mathom House


Kelley and Kempthorn have normally been collectors, but in lots of ways the story of Mathom Dwelling is a really like story. When they very first met, they just about every experienced smaller collections of outdated images, and on a person of their to start with dates, in excess of a decade ago, they acquired a stack with each other, therefore marking the starting of their joint selection. At the time, Kelley presently experienced “the Bone Cupboard,” a show circumstance stuffed not only with bones but also birds’ nests, feathers, seashells, fossils, exoskeletons, and other pure history objects.

When they sooner or later purchased a household collectively, they understood they needed a dedicated place to home their rising collections, which contain but are not limited to: photographs, seashells, automobile emblems (exclusively Cadillac hood ornaments), classic Christmas ornaments, pottery fragments, model trains, stamps, classic teal ceramics, autograph guides, and in excess of 120 teeth. These objects are all found, bought, and gifted although some of the tooth are friends’ extracted knowledge teeth, Kelley once bought a bag of teeth from an antique shop.

As I ascend the creaky stairs to Mathom Dwelling on a chilly February early morning, I’m confronted by a significant horse skull on a knotted picket pedestal. “Oh, which is Roy,” Kelley quips. Roy the horse skull was, in a sense, the genesis of Kelley’s amassing follow and was named soon after a Michigan gentleman who offered a really younger Kelley an assortment of random matters from his dwelling assortment. This follow of naming weaves during Mathom Home, whose storage and exhibit cabinets are fondly and to some degree enigmatically named soon after their provenance—the Rochester cabinet, Frenchie, the Hamilton—all with a unique reminder of their previous lives. Without a doubt, Kelley and Kempthorn visualize their gathering follow as a “way of embodying memory.”



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