Barton Benes imbues mundane objects with the mystical power of holy relics. He assembles modern-day curiosity cabinets, or reliquaries, out of everyday items that have been touched by fame. From such bizarre celebrity-owned articles as Madonna's panties, Bill Clinton's throat lozenge, O. J. Simpson's glove, Larry Hagman's gallstone, and glass from the car crash in which Princess Diana died, Barton Benes creates an art that is as arresting as it is unique.
Whether his creativity is fueled by discards with the pedigree of fame or infamy, such as a Frank Sinatra finger-nail clipping or the Son of Sam's hair, or by unusual and strange objects from human and natural history, such as mummy dust, Benes, mounts and labels the items and assembles them into mini-museums that are, as this book shows, alternately provocative, disturbing, and amusing, but always compelling. Benes supplies humorous captions that tell the quirky history of each piece, and John Berendt, best-selling author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, writes an insightful introduction on Benes's art and discusses his own fascination with it.