Maria Williams-Russell Art Blog
While collecting art is an activity that many people think is out of their means, the panel agreed if a person truly enjoys art and wants to own it, money should not be a particular worry. ___No matter how much money you have to spend on your first purchase, $1,000 or $10,000,___ Heller gave this advice, ___keep your money for one year and visit all the galleries and museums you possibly can to find out what kind of art it is you like.___
He went on to say that while most people think that collecting contemporary art is how art collectors make money and establish an important collection, this is not true. A person might find that he/she prefers art from another time period or culture than contemporary western art and can develop just as impressive a collection as one in the contemporary realm. The year spent doing research will educate the buyer as to his/her tastes and give him/her a deeper understanding of the language, symbolism, and styles that inform art.
When the panel was asked how a person who didn__™t have the opportunity to travel to major metropolitan areas to visit galleries and museums can do their research, Susan Cross, curator for MASSMoCA said that visiting open studios can be a great way to discover what kind of art is out there. She warned, however, as did the rest of the panel, that art fairs are not a good venue for collectors or artists. Because of its retail environment, an art fair isn__™t likely to have the kind of work an art collector is interested in. Occasionally, a promising artist will show interesting work at an art fair, but the work is often already sold and just being used to showcase the artist.
Beginner collectors can also do their research online. Many museums now have virtual tours. Galleries across the planet have websites, and millions of self-representing artists display their work on the Internet. Allen Schwartzman, a collector, art historian, and art consultant to museums suggested that before spending a lot of money for a piece of art online, a collector should have a return policy agreement with the artist or seller in case the artwork does not have the same appeal in person as it had on the computer screen. ___There is something very special about being in the same room with a piece of art you love,___ said Schwartzman. The art should speak to the owner on many levels. In fact, Schwartzman also advised collectors to sell pieces from their collections only when those pieces stop speaking to them on a daily basis.
So, how does a person develop an impressive collection? According to this panel of experts, educating oneself is essential. Then, if collecting contemporary art, a collector needs to find an artist whose work speaks to him/her, but also whom the collector believes will continue producing even greater work. In the case of period collections, visiting antique shops and looking through dealer catalogues is a good way to begin. Once a collector has a few pieces in his/her collection, the lifelong obsession will have probably taken root, and a refined eye will have developed.
From this point on, it seems the collector is on his/her own. The panel encouraged risk taking and told their guests to anticipate mistake making. They also warned collectors not to be intimidated by the art world. If a buyer wants to see what is sitting in the back room of a gallery, he/she should ask to see it regardless of the severe-looking person sitting at the front desk, a phenomenon everyone agreed was annoying. Most importantly, beginner collectors should collect art for the love of art and nothing else, that way the collection is meaningful, enjoyable, and one-of-a-kind.
Note: The artwork featured here is Jackson Pollock's, "Blue (Moby Dick)" from the Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki.