About Caryl Burtner

For over 40 years, Caryl Burtner has collected objects and information that document the minutiae of her life and — by extension — popular culture. From 1000+ documented toothbrushes and 2000+ plastic baggies containing annotated lipstick blots, to notebooks with color-coded charts of changing clothes, hairstyles, and favorite music, her collections bring you into her world of personal and public history. Her work is both intimate and institutional as she applies cataloguing techniques to everyday objects — always searching for connections, and finding humor in the mundane. Her devotion to this work has been described as “heroic” by Art Papers and a “stunning, tour-de-force example of performance art” by The Washington Post.

Caryl was born in Washington DC, and grew up in Bellevue, Washington and Vienna, Virginia. VCU art school brought her to Richmond, and she’s lived there ever since — collecting and cataloguing, documenting subtle changes, and testing superstitions.


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