Spencer Merolla (Brooklyn, NY)
May 2018. Installation. Collection doll hair, 36 frames, sconce, mirror, wood, acrylic. 8’x 8′ x 12′.

Album Amicorum is a storytelling, functional artifact: a bathroom installation that presents locks of hair from museum dolls in the style of a 19th-century friendship album.

Merolla’s body of work investigates the use of hair as a personal reliquary and token of friendship. Before the invention of photography, locks of hair could be gifted to loved ones as signs of affection; some found their way into “friendship albums.” These archives were a cross between scrapbook and autograph collection generally crafted by women, and disparaged as superficial for this reason.

The hundreds of Elsewhere dolls are longtime residents and former companions who often show signs wear and care— with braided, styled hair and creative haircuts. Album celebrates the dolls and sentimental practices within a gender-inclusive, accessible space.

Process