Spring 2009

Inventory / My Rock Is a Purse

Susan Greenspan

“Inventory” is a column that examines or presents a list, catalogue, or register.

In 1996, my friend V—— gave me a rock that looked like a tiny purse, one with a thin metal clasp at the top, the sort you might carry when you dress up to go out at night. V—— had found the rock in the mid-1970s during a vacation to Pantelleria, the volcanic island between Sicily and Tunisia. At the time she gave it to me, I was building a collection of things that looked like other things—a potato chip that looked like a heart, a piece of white bread that looked like a T-shirt. We put the rock that looked like a purse on a piece of crimson velvet and took pictures of it.

Since the rock-purse gift, I have been searching for more rocks that resemble other things. I found the majority of my current collection (about twenty in number) at the beach. Most of the “meats” (bacon, pancetta, tripe) were found in and around Santa Cruz, California. The bean and the macadamia nut are from Fetiye, Turkey. The egg and the black-and-white cookie are from Cape Cod.

Bacon strip
Purse (day bag)
Small intestine
Milk Dud
Leftover salmon
Guitar pick
Large intestine
Sirloin tip roast
Black-and-white cookie
Froot Loop
Purse (evening bag)
Raw sausage
Macadamia nut

Susan Greenspan is an artist based in Cleveland, Ohio. She is an adjunct member of the faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Art.