The Passerby Museum

I went to the Claremont Museum of Art on Saturday evening for the opening reception for “The Passerby Museum” exhibit, in which objects that could fit into a sandwich bag were collected from passersby in the Village and at Pitzer College. The collection was a recent column topic.

Among the items added since I’d written about it:

* An extinguished cigarette and handwritten note reading “Hope it’s my last.”

* An apple core, beginning to brown.

* A Costco shopping list that included this item: “TP (?).” I wonder what the deciding factor was.

* An Aug. 24 Angels vs. Twins ticket.

The community-driven exhibit is “an intriguing way to get people into the museum who might not otherwise come,” executive director William Moreno told me.

In the first gallery space, the walls are covered floor to ceiling with pinned-up Passerby Museum sandwich bags, not just the nearly 300 from Claremont but hundreds from previous stops in Cuba, Spain, Canada and New York City, each city identified near the ceiling in bold letters.

Now that its name is alongside Havana, Mexico City and New York City, has obscure Claremont suddenly vaulted among the great cities of the world?

Well, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada isn’t all that well known either, and it’s represented, co-curator Nicolas Dumit Estevez pointed out when I brought it up. But he saw my point and thought that when the “Claremont, California” items are shown in other cities — San Antonio, Texas, is the likely next stop, sometime next year — the unfamiliar name might spark curiosity.

“When people see ‘Claremont,’ I think they’ll want to look it up on a map, don’t you?” Estevez said.

I do.

In the meantime, see the exhibit at the museum through Dec. 28. The first Friday of the month, admission is free.

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  • Ramona

    When “TP?” appears on my shopping list it means “will that reduced price toilet paper be a brand that I can live with?”

    Without going into detail I will tell you that some brands “work” better than others.

    ‘Nuff said.


  • I’m afraid to ask what were some of the things the Pitzer students added.

  • Don J

    Dave, Kitchener hosts the World’s Largest Oktoberfest, thanks to one of the largest German populations outside Deutschland.

    [Did not know that. I only know Kitchener as the home of cartoonist Dave Sim. — DA]

  • Robert Bunch

    As someone who has worked at the claremont colleges for 20 years I can tell you your blog would have to be “R” rated. There is no telling what the students at Pitzer gave. Maybe it was photos from the 1984 games held in Los Angeles. A call went to security [everyone with a radio heard] it seemed the europeans had a different idea of getting a tan than us. Needless to say all who could rushed over to see. Needless to say the first on site was physical plant as we got our own radios and do work there. Talk about a mob. Before all was done even the people who live by the college were there and as usual lodged a beef with the police dept. It was all dropped because the college is private prop? besides the college is the town.