Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts on collecting art

Thinking about the art and economy based discussions in Glasgow and seeing an article on buying art in Detroit, I feel like there is a funny conflict in how I love cities with almost non-existent commercial districts, and yet I like all the people who run commercial galleries in Detroit.

Just think of the difference between Park West Gallery and Susanne Hilberry...

I like that I have ways to support my art practice, but I'm conflicted when I think about a culture of accumulation or even the idea of that era when Bush recommended that Americans shop more to support their country after September 11th.

Maybe the purchasing of artwork needs to be considered an investment in a living person than in a finished work of art?

I would like to put forward different ways and reasons for starting an art collection:

- Support the artists you appreciate. (And this also means for artists, help people figure out how to support you.) (And for those who are buying work, support is anything that helps artists to continue to make the best work possible, do you own a truck for example...)

- Buy friends' work so that they can see it when they like and barters and exchanges are always an option. Do  you have a work of art of theirs already, but another friend loves them too? Buy your friends art for your other friend!

- If you want to be able to afford the work, buy it without a frame, and when you get the money to finally frame it, bring it to someone who actually knows what they're doing, like John Rowland. I think that people get overcharged by cheap framers, someone should do an exposé on this! And on that note, we're in 2013, how come students can't rent expensive frames like tuxedos? The technology has to exist.

- Sometimes the best art in Michigan is outsider art. I met a guy in San Antonio who was raving about the outsider art from all around Michigan, he was saying that this one gallery in Chicago sells these wonderful pornographic birdhouses for hundreds of dollars, but if you just visit the chap at his home, you could get one for about five dollars! I also lived door next to this guy Pavel Olbrot, and I love all of his work too!

- If you have ever bought someone's work, let the artist know! You don't have to give them your address or contact information, it's just that one would be surprised how often artists don't know where their art goes. I love seeing my artwork in people's homes (Dan and Duke), it makes me feel like the work actually does something for someone and the work regains a kind of energy in someone else's space. I would also love if more artists were taken to dinner in the collector's home to see their work installed in exchange for a studio visit.

For everything else one would need to know see the movie Herb and Dorothy.

Also I would be almost interested in an article about the history of art collectors in Michigan and how they supported artists and how they formed their captivating collections, i.e. artist letters to James Pearson Duffy, when is a piece just the right amount of obsessive compulsive for the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Collection, how was it decided what gets to stay in Detroit from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman fluxus Collection...

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I was going to go into all of the interesting conversations surrounding the Art & Economy conversations around Stills in Edinburgh, CCA, Transmission and at the GSA but I'll leave you with some of the tidbits that got all of our minds reeling:

Should people have to pay for attending art events the same way one would pay for entertainment such as paying 9 pounds to see a movie, and paying 9 pounds to attend a forum? (This was mentioned because the idea of something being offered for free will always have strings or ideologies attached)

Should artists critique the proposal process when applying for funding? Does it change if it's public funding? (This was mentioned because of the idea that perhaps artists aren't trusted enough to do their work, but also the best works aren't usually commissioned, because the process is much more indirect.)

I'd love to know what are your favorite gems from your own art collection (some of my best paintings I've sold to my parents and by sold I mean to pay back debt) or your thoughts on the two questions above.

1 comment:

Cedric Tai said...

This is a good summation:

"When buying from an artist/maker, you're buying more than just an object/painting. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You are buying days, weeks, and months of frustration and moments of PURE JOY. YOU AREN'T JUST BUYING A THING, you're buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone's life. Most importantly, you're buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about."

Attributed to Rebekah Joy Plett