In Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee write:
Some collectors show extreme behaviors that straddle the border between eccentricity and pathology. Andy Warhol, an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and celebrity, is credited with the development of pop art, a movement in which art reflected the popular culture of the time. Warhol’s paintings of brand-name products such as Campbell’s soup and Coca-Cola were re-creations of the culture, ways of preserving not the exceptional but the mundane. He was also an avid collector and spent part of every day shopping at flea markets, antique stores, auction houses, and galleries—anywhere he might find something of interest. He collect not only fine art of every style and period but also what many considered junk. Like other famous collectors, Warhol displayed little of what he bought and tucked most of it away in warehouses. Still, his five-story house in New York City was so crammed that he could live in only two of the rooms. According to Stuard Pivar, a frequent shopping companion, Warhol had a plan to sell at least part of his collection, but he was still in the acquiring phase of this plan when he died at age fifty-eight. Whether he would ever have gotten past this phase is questionable. He once gave an antique shop a Mexican ceremonial mask to sell but then retrieved it out of fear that it would in fact be sold.
One of the most unusual aspects of Warhol’s collecting became apparent shortly after his death. During the 1970s and 1980s, Warhol preserved nearly every bit of ephemera that came into his possession. He kept a cardboard box beside his desk, and when the impulse struck him, he cleared everything off his desk and into the box, no exceptions. Valuable prints, cash, and apple cores all went into what he described as his “time capsule.” He dated it and stored it along with more than six-hundred others. About one hundred of his time capsules have been opened so far. There seems no discrimination regarding what went into each one—an electric bill, silverware from a trip on an airplane, telephone messages, large sums of cash; whatever was in his life at that moment was swept into the box. Warhol’s time capsules have become a pop culture archaeologist’s dream. They are a record of Warhol’s life in all its detail and triviality—as perfect a record as could be had. Material from the time capsules has been displayed in museums around the world. In this way, Warhol has become immortal.
Warhol was not the first to collect such seemingly unrelated objects in one container. Common in Europe during the sixteenth century were “cabinets of curiosities,” or German Wunderkammers—jumbled collections of strange, wonderful, rare, and curious objects designed to create a picture, if not a wholly representative one, of the world at the time. Cabinets of curiosities were the precursors of early museums, filled with whatever the collector found interesting. Warhol certainly followed in this tradition, but he found everything interesting. His definition of art was all-encompassing, from the Jasper Johns painting he found at a flea market to the plastic trinket he bought at the same time. For Warhol, even the process of collecting seemed to be a form of art. Judging by the interest generated by his time capsules, many share this view.
Photo reblogged from 10yearsgone—snowce— via bigfun:
John Phillips - Andy Warhol at “The Factory,” 1982.