Skip to main content

The Noble Art of Collecting: Words, Books, and the Spaces They Inhabit

The Noble Art of Collecting: Words, Books, and the Spaces They Inhabit
Mari Shaw
Sternberg Press
Edited by Matthew Evans


100 pages
ISBN 9783956793462


Words, Books, and the Spaces They Inhabit is the first of Mari Shaw’s series The Noble Art of Collecting. With examples of unexpected collectors and serendipitous outcomes, Shaw investigates the obscure desires that shape art collecting and the public goodwill that results from it. What was lost when the scrolls in the ancient library of Alexandria were destroyed? How did Catherine the Great’s collecting change the way we think? How do Jeff Bezos and expand our appreciation of books as objects? Though the ways we communicate live and vary, history has been created, recorded, and preserved in writing. Words and the spaces that contain them are crucial to an empathetic understanding of our world.

About the Author
Mari Shaw is an intellectual property lawyer, storyteller, and author of Painter and Pataphysician Thomas Chimes (2015). She has organized projects with artists such as Candida Höfer and Anri Sala; has taught a seminar on originality, art, law, and technology at the University of Pennsylvania; and lectures at a number of universities and art schools. Shaw has served on boards and advisory committees for documenta 12, The Galleries of the Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin Law School, and the Wilma Theater. She and her husband, Peter, live in Philadelphia and Berlin and have been collecting art for thirty-five years.

About the Publisher
Sternberg Press grew out of the small publishing house known as Lukas & Sternberg, founded in 1999 by Caroline Schneider. With a focus on art criticism, theory, fiction, and artists’ books, the Berlin-New York based publishing endeavor was set in motion with a pocket book series—edited in part with Nicolaus Schafhausen. Dedicated to an expanded notion of writing on art, Sternberg Press has created a formidable platform in which practitioners from the fields of art and culture (architecture, design, film, politics, literature, and philosophy) can engage in a critical discourse. Each book is a special object celebrating creative publishing at its best, based on both meticulous editorial decisions and distinctive design. Through both commissioned and translated works, Sternberg Press seeks out the blind spots within contemporary discourse and offers a timely response to the related debates.