Lenore Doolan, a food writer for the New York Times, meets Harold Morris, a photographer, at a halloween party in 2002. He is dressed as Harry Houdini.
In Leanne Shapton’s marvellously inventive and invented auction catalogue, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore and Harold (who aren’t real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple’s personal effects-the usual auction items (jewellery, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pyjamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks)-the story of a failed love affair vividly and cleverly emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple’s accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate.
In Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris Leanne Shapton invites us to contemplate what is truly valuable, and to consider the art we make of our private lives.