Karp, Marilynn Gelfman (text) & Carl Williamson (photogs.). In Flagrante
Collecto (Caught in the Act of Collecting). Abrams. 2006. 368p. photogs.
index. ISBN 0-8109-5540-7. $60. FINE ARTS

First-time author Karp (art, NYU) is a sculptor who collects Depression glass, which she rightly describes as valuable, but she also finds herself drawn to "unloved" objects like soda bottle caps. This volume gives joyous exhibition to many "valueless" collections. In 21 chapters, from "The Art of Collecting" to "Just in Time," Karp details with care, knowledge, insight, experience, and humor 1000 items from nearly 200 collections. Readers get more than just mere descriptions-they are also supplied with the broader sociological context of the knickknacks' production. To boot, every item is photographed in full color and extraordinary in presentation, particularly in regard to the utility and ease with which they represent and support the text. This book may be used as a "browser" but can also be used as a beginning and intermediate point for serious study (thanks, in part, to the solid index). The analysis is serious, while an acknowledgment of the collection obsession is not. A substantial and finely crafted volume, exceptionally produced in the Abrams manner and delightful on many levels.

Highly recommended.-Alex Hartmann, Infophile, Williamsport, PA