Alex Shear’s Object Lesson #4


For this issue, collector Alex Shear contributes another piece of pop ephemera—a Vietnam-era license plate (presented here as a removable insert) that offers striking contemporary resonances.

Throughout his life, Alex Shear compiled a collection of over 100,000 20th-century pop-culture artifacts in his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In the ’70s, Shear was a highly successful designer of housewares and clothing. In the ’90s and until his death in 2014, he focused exclusively on acquisition. Objects from his collection have been featured in exhibitions at Manhattan’s Children’s Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, among others.