Tucker Viemeister has assembled a collection of more than 200 tubes of toothpaste from different corners of the globe, according to The Wall Street Journal. The assemblage now hangs in curated displays in each of his bathrooms. Affixed to the walls with nails and office clips, the tubes elicit more comments than any of the other pieces displayed throughout Viemeister's home.
The 66-year-old, Manhattan-based industrial designer started with his first tube in 1985. Inscribed along the collection's catalyst is the Finnish word for fluoride toothpaste, "Fluorihammastahna." Other pieces in Viemeister's array of fluoridated fancies are a 10-times-strong mint flavor from Argentina and "papal toothpaste" picked up in Rome. The collector even possesses a tiny toothpaste replica created as a doll accessory.
Usefulness as art
There is no rarity in toothpaste, and that's exactly why the different tooth cleaners appeal to Viemeister, who applies the idea of universality to his own designs. He compares the dental care products to Elvis, someone who appealed to nearly everyone. Just as he seeks to create things that are desirable and usable to a large audience, he enjoys collecting an item that comes in nearly infinite forms and flavors while sporting a universal allure: Usefulness.
The unusual display has garnered a lot of interest. It has even been the subject of an exhibit at New York City's Mmuseumm. It's understandable that so many would be drawn to the array of pastes that protect teeth from decay. What's not to love about an item that keeps smiles pretty? It might be why Viemeister once encountered a Rotterdam store selling nothing but tubes of the stuff.
And yes, Veimeister has sampled the majority of the toothpaste varieties in his toothpaste collection, including French artifacts that taste like dessert.