Bureau of Bureaucracy

  • Kim Schmahmann, Bureau of Bureaucracy, 1993-1999, various hardwoods, veneers, marquetry, mother of pearl, gold leaf, and brass, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous donor, 2000.48A-H, © 1993, Kim S. Schmahmann

Exhibition Label

Schmahmann’s Bureau of Bureaucracy re-interprets the sixteenth-century European “cabinet of curiosities,” used to house wondrous, exotic objects. Instead of rare stones and fossils, this cabinet holds certificates, diplomas, licenses, medical reports, and financial statements, bureaucratic documents that reflect and define our lives in contemporary society. Behind the functional exterior of this piece lies a surreal array of inverted perspectives, false drawers, and hidden compartments—the artist’s subtle commentary on the true nature of bureaucracies.

Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery, 2019

Title
Bureau of Bureaucracy
Artist
Date
1993-1999
Location
Dimensions
96 x 36 x 24 in. (243.8 x 91.4 x 61.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of an anonymous donor

Mediums Description
various hardwoods, veneers, marquetry, mother of pearl, gold leaf, and brass
Classifications
Keywords
  • Architecture – civic
  • Object – written matter – book
Object Number
2000.48A-H
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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