A Tale of Two Obsessions: David C. Nolan & Marilyn Monroe and Arline Conradt & the Cat Scrapbook, 2011 - 2013
David C. Nolan and Arline Conradt’s collections embody masculine and feminine desires through memorabilia long before the digital age. They were interested in culture via celebrity and advertising yet they were also repressed. A Tale of Two Obsessions... explores my interest in one man and one woman’s fascination with the found image, their methods of archiving and organization, and the perversity of their actions.
Until recently, Nolan’s photographs of Marilyn Monroe were stored in a safety deposit box, acquired for $5 at an antique store in the 1980s. For several years, members of my family believed that Nolan was the photographer, but the true creators are Earl Theisen, Bert Riesfeld, and countless others who photographed films like The Seven Year Itch for publicity. After the completion of these images, I posted them online and have since learned that Nolan owned roughly 300,000 photographs of women in various states of undress. He retreated to his basement where he labeled his collection, wrote captions on each photograph, and stored them in thousands of cardboard boxes. After his death, his wife, horrified at this trove, gave them away to the first person that would remove them from the house. They gradually circulated along the West Coast and 29 ended up in my family’s hands in Boise, Idaho.