An article by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts curator Ashley Kistler on the subject of artists whose work is about collecting. Along with Burtner, Kistler discusses the work of Richard Roth, Bob Paris, Michael Lease, and Luke Savisky.
"For Caryl Burtner, collecting became an all-consuming passion after a fire swept through her apartment, destroying most of her possessions. Launched that year (1976) and continuing today, The Caryl Burtner Archives contains binder upon binder of photocopies of the artist's mundane possessions - clothes, makeup, empty shampoo and aspirin bottles - annotated with dates of use, cost and place of purchase. Burtner wryly compares her activities to those of an FBI office where information is gathered, sifted, and collated; results are documented and filed; and connections are made. By recasting personal possessions as cultural artifacts, along with a motley assortment of oddities and minutiae, Burtner erases the distinction between art and life, establishing as her subject the curious nature and rituals of the human species."