Caryl Burtner Works

In assembling her many and various Collections, Caryl Burtner employs methods comparable to the daily activity of a (very busy) FBI branch office. Information is gathered, sifted, collated; results are documented and filed, and connections are made. There are no days off. The devotion to duty here suggests a higher calling, as to public service, or even the monastic life.

Yet for all the implied seriousness and high purpose, the work is guided with a playful spirit (it’s OK to laugh); on one level it all seems to spoof the scientific method itself.

The links on this page will take you to these collections – some open and shut cases, and some subjects for further investigation. All part of a much larger tapestry. Have fun!

"Meet the Beatles," Beatles Fan, "She Loves YOu"

What was played when--A sides and B's.

collections artist Morton's Salt

50+ binders documenting various material possessions as they pass through Caryl's life.

A virtual telephone pole.

Contradictory Adages.

Books abridged for your convenience. First and last sentences only.

Bride of Keith MacPhee

Caryl's collection of brides' first signatures began when her cousin married a man named Punko.

Cary Street, Richmond Virginia,

Cary Street is Caryl Street now.

Crayola Crayons

Crayola vs. generic.

OJ Simpson in the Dictionary next to Sincere

All these combinations are right there in the dictionary. Look it up.


The opposite of Dictionary Definitions, the combinations in Dictionary Diagrams were carefully selected by Caryl for their seeming verisimilitude.

Words Caryl has looked up in the dictionary, from 1977 to the present.

To ensure good luck.

The best-selling item at Caryl's retrospective at Key Gallery.


An investigation into paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Caryl's Hair, July 17, 1980

The most personal of Caryl's collections.

It's not about glamour or sex-appeal.

Hundreds of ribbons. Scores of matchbooks. 147 toilet paper rolls. How many fingernail clippings?

"It's called Missing Richmond because the buildings are missing and I miss them."

Childrens Nursery Rhyme Mondays Child is Fair of Face

Monday's Child is Fair of Face.

Girls named Carol

What's in a name?

Not for dentists only.

...including 20 contributed by famous artists.

Degas Ballerina in Lucy Ricardo's Living Room

Art reproduction in television backdrop décor.