Seen in the Mirror: Things from the Cartin Collection

Texts by Luke Syson and Steven Holmes. Conversation between Mickey Cartin and David Leiber

An exciting, unexpected, and beautiful encounter with one collector’s deeply personal assemblage of works

Since the 1980s, Mickey Cartin has assembled a remarkable collection of objects and art—Renaissance and modernist paintings, master prints, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, and contemporary art, with a focus on certain artists in depth. Exploring the theory behind collecting art and how Cartin’s approach diverges from common practices, this publication offers a unique perspective on an intimate endeavor. Unconcerned with hewing to specific categories, time periods, or media, Cartin’s collection—which includes the likes of Josef Albers, Sol LeWitt, and Forrest Bess—creates active combinations and disrupts homogeneity, privileging the drive of curiosity. 

A documentation of the celebrated exhibition Seen in the Mirror: Things from the Cartin Collection at David Zwirner, New York, in 2021, this publication includes additional artworks from Cartin’s trove along with views of his home, conveying how he lives and engages day-to-day with these works. Cartin selected each work in the exhibition and publication as a reflection of his deep connections with the many artists represented therein. The conversation between Cartin and David Leiber illuminates the tensions between study and instinct, reading versus experiencing, as well as the influences and figures that inform his personal, curatorial practice. With texts by the curator of the Cartin Collection, Steven Holmes, and the art historian Luke Syson, this inspiring volume is a spirited investigation of a very different method of and approach to collecting.

About the Cartin Collection
The Cartin Collection includes nearly 2,000 works in various media including early Netherlandish painting, fifteenth- and sixteenth-century illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, nineteenth-century paintings and drawings, and an extensive collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art. In 2005, the Cartin Collection began to produce exhibitions in partnership with museums, alternative spaces, and galleries in New York, Boston, Miami, and Hartford, as well as in Paris and Berlin. The collection continues to loan extensively across all fields, periods, and media. 


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Contributors: Steven Holmes, David Leiber, Luke Syson

Designer: Practise

Printer: VeronaLibri

Publication Date: 2023

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 8.25 × 11 in | 21 × 27.9 cm

Pages: 208

Reproductions: 138 illustrations

ISBN: 9781644231098

Retail: $65 | $85 CAN | £55

Status: Available

Steven Holmes

Steven Holmes has been the curator of the Cartin Collection since 2005. From 2009 to 2012 he was Adjunct Curator at The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach and from 2000 to 2005 he was the Director of Visual Arts and Public Programming at Real Art Ways in Hartford. In 2008, Holmes edited the catalogue Festschrift, with essays by Carlos Basualdo, Nicholas Baume, and James Rondeau, and his essays have appeared in Explode Every Day and Oh, Canada. Holmes has curated exhibitions in New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Miami, Boston and Hartford, and has been a visiting critic at Skowhegan, Ontario College of Art and Design, Yale School of Art, Art Omi, University of Connecticut, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, University of Lethbridge, and Hartford Art School. His projects have been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, The New Yorker, Le Monde, Die Zeit, artnet, artUS, ARTnews, Tema Celeste, Flash Art International, and Art New England

David Leiber

David Leiber, a partner at David Zwirner in New York, works closely with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Estate of Diane Arbus, and major collectors of work by Giorgio Morandi, as well as the contemporary artist Liu Ye. In addition to curating Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings in 2015 and Albers and Morandi: Never Finished in 2021, he has overseen numerous exhibitions at the gallery, including Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art (2018), Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms (2022), Cataclysm: The 1972 Diane Arbus Retrospective Revisited (2022), and Joan Mitchell: Paintings, 1979–1985 (2022). In 2023, David curated the gallery’s Roma/New York, 1953–1964 exhibition, exploring the significant intellectual and artistic cross-pollination between artists in the centers of Italian and American art in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Luke Syson

Luke Syson is the fourteenth director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England. From 2012 to 2019, he was the chairman of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where he led the complete refurbishment of the British Galleries, which opened in March 2020. He has held curatorial positions at the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and the National Gallery, London, where he led the successful campaign to acquire Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks for the nation and curated the highly acclaimed exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan in 2011. Since arriving in Cambridge, he has overseen a series of acclaimed exhibitions, ranging from Hockney’s Eye to Gold of the Great Steppe.