Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I've included two articles from Art and Antiques Magazine (which I adore) that I came across through related research for work. I thought I'd pass them along.

The pictures for the flipbook are done, and cute! I've worked with this couple before (they're still fabulous), and the book looks like a kinky silent film. Box Mag has been incredible with this, so when the book comes out, you better believe I'm going to promote it (and them) like mad.

I'll also have three prints in "Sexicon: The Art and Language of Erotica" at The Living Room Collective in Berkeley, opening this weekend. They were taken right off my walls in my apartment, so if you go, you'll at least see how I decorate (egocentrically, apparently). Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to go (work thing on the same night) but it could be fun.

From Art and Antiques Magazine: "Thrill of Discovery: How to Build a Collection of Emerging Artists"

Thrill of Discovery
How to build a collection of emerging artists.
The myth of discovering young artists is hardly new, and the adage of fabled art dealer Leo Castelli still holds: Love what you buy. Trust your instincts. Still, the days of collecting through a single dealer or private consultant have morphed into a more hands-on process, with emerging-art collectors turning up in increasing numbers at artists’ studios, clutching VIP preview passes at art fairs, sniffing around the back rooms of young galleries and even venturing into MFA student shows, all in the name of buying up edgy works.

At the outset, such activities may appear daunting—after all, how does anyone know which art fairs to attend, dealers to court, or more importantly, what to buy? Art exists in a context, and emerging art is no exception. The more collectors know about art history the better, and the more art—contemporary and otherwise—they go to see, the better. Following are some avenues that will help you educate your eye and decide what types of work by emerging talents is right for you:

Museum collector groups

A certain intellectual curiosity is assumed when it comes to serious collecting of any kind. That said, getting involved with a museum rather than hiring a private consultant allows collectors greater autonomy and control when it comes to building a collection that inevitably, expresses their own personal tastes and opinions.

While cultivating the eyes and minds of emerging collectors, institutional affiliation also provides essential access to emerging artists and the dealers who represent them, encouraging collectors to forge their own relationships with artists and dealers whose works they admire and support. Luckily, the anxiety and risk associated with building a collection of new art has eased considerably in the past couple of years with the recent proliferation of museum collector groups focused specifically on contemporary and emerging art. In return for annual dues, "it’s a mutual support system, where you learn," says James Elaine, a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, which hosts a program called the Hammer Fellows. "You look at a broad spectrum of work, not just one person’s vision."

Contemporary collector groups

Groups of note include the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, led by curator Janet Bishop; the Friends of Modern Art, at the Baltimore Musuem, which is overseen by Chris Gilbert, curator of contemporary art; and Director’s Level Members, which features trips with director Linda Shearer at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem all have active contemporary support groups. Often these groups offer curator-led tours of art fairs and biennials for an extra fee, with packages that include airfare, accommodations and invitations to openings and parties.

Artists’ studios

In exchange for $400, collectors under 40 can join the New Group at the New Museum in New York. "People come to us because they want to get involved with contemporary art," says director Lisa Phillips. "Studio visits with curators serve as an introduction. Collectors often buy right out of the artists’ studios. We get there very early in a person’s career and foster a familiarity with works, so that then they see the works popping up in other exhibitions." New Group members also are invited to cocktail parties in the homes of important emerging-art collectors.

Study tours

Higher-level memberships at the New Museum offer art study tours that have included, in recent years, a trip to South Africa, where members visited William Kentridge’s studio, and a trip to Cuba to explore the emerging Cuban art scene. "We also take collectors to art fairs as an educational function," Phillips says.


Whether you go with a group or strike out on your own, mark your calendar for the most influential art fairs. Art Basel takes place annually in June in conjunction with the Liste Art Fair, which features young dealers and emerging artists. Coinciding with Art Basel Miami Beach each December, the New Art Dealers’ Alliance fair also emphasizes recent art. The sudden popularity of the Frieze Art Fair has added annual October trips to London to the list. In addition to the array of emerging art and dealers, the most recent Frieze fair featured a panel of internationally renowned critics and curators discussing the collecting of new art. And in March, Art & Antiques is directing Emerging Artist ’05, a vetted event that builds upon the magazine’s Emerging Artist department. (For more on how to shop a fair, see "A&A Insider," Art & Antiques, January 2005.)

Biennials and large-scale contemporary survey shows

These offer round-ups that help place emerging artists in a more art-historical context. Of these, the most influential are the Whitney Biennial in New York, the Venice Biennale and the Florence Biennial of Contemporary Art, which take place in alternate years, and the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh.

MFA thesis exhibitions

Jon Kessler, chair of the Division of Visual Arts, School of the Arts at Columbia University, touts these as excellent ways to acquaint yourself with artists on the rise. Columbia hosts one each spring in addition to annual December open studios; other schools with closely watched MFA programs are Yale, California Institute of the Arts and UCLA.

Younger galleries

"Open studios can be very disorienting," notes Sheri Pasquarella, director of Manhattan’s Gorney Bravin + Lee Gallery, president of the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) and curator of the Stanley and Nancy Singer collection, which features many emerging artists. "It’s a little more-do-it-yourself than going to younger galleries where someone else had already sorted through the work." Chris D’Amelio, co-owner of the D’Amelio Terras Gallery in New York, recommends checking out John Connelly Presents, LFL, Daniel Reich, Bellwether Gallery, and Cohan and Leslie.

Look at the big picture

"You have to learn how to appreciate things you’ve never seen before," D’Amelio says. "Instead of going out to look for work you know you like, it’s helpful to ask, ‘What is this new generation of artists making? What is making the critic write about it and the dealer show it?’"

"One has to be slightly obsessional," muses collector Raymond Learsy, who with his wife, Melva Bucksbaum, sits on the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. "But part of the fun of collecting," he adds, "is trying to get there first."

From Art and Antiques Magazine: "Developing an Eye: How to Collect Fine Art Photography"

Developing an Eye
How to collect fine art photography.
Photography is the newest category of fine art to send auction prices through the roof. Last year, a portfolio of 10 Diane Arbus photographs, printed in the early 1970s and taken over the previous decade, hammered down at Phillips, de Pury & Company in New York for $405,500. Yes, there is nothing like the wild bidding of an auction to spark the curiosity of potential collectors, but a budding fine-art photography collection should be founded on solid decisions as well as emotion. The best way to get started, advises Weston Naef, curator of photographs at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, is to look at as many prints as possible and read as much as you can about photography, from its beginnings in the 1840s to the works of today’s contemporary photographers.

Collecting Methods

Set parameters. Gerry Badger, a curator, critic and author of Collecting Photography, recommends that beginners first determine their collection’s focus. “It gives the collection a purpose,” he says. “True collectors are distinguished from those who simply accumulate photographs by the fact that their collections have limits or themes. The primary rule about collecting — whether as an investment or for enjoyment—is to always go for quality and buy the best you can afford.”

Collect by subject. Badger suggests that new collectors start by subject—nudes, celebrities, flowers, hands, landscapes, images of India, etc.

Collect aesthetic movements or historical schools, such as pictorialism, modernism or surrealism.

Collect by photographer.

Collect by genre. “A photographic genre is a category encompassing both subject matter and a particular approach to the medium, and is usually a function rather than an aesthetic approach,” Badger says. Genres include sports, photojournalism, topography, fashion, archaeology, travel, erotica, science and vernacular (or snapshot) photography.

Financial Considerations

Determine your budget. “Your budget will determine your starting point,” says Maggi Weston, owner of the Weston Gallery in Carmel, California, who opened her gallery at the suggestion of Ansel Adams and today represents his estate. “Then find a gallerist you feel comfortable with, one who will teach you and bring you along.”

Buying for investment. Wisely chosen prints yield the best returns. “I always told my clients to go the distance,” says former gallerist Jane Jackson, who now curates the collection of Sir Elton John. “If you see an image you really love, but it’s a bit more than you wanted to spend, think about five years down the line when it will have increased in value.” For an investment collection, Jackson’s golden rule is to buy fewer pieces and stretch your dollars to get the best possible prints.

Buying Opportunities

Photography fairs bring together as many as 60 to 80 national and international dealers who display museum-quality prints from all eras by both renowned and emerging photographers. Besides black-and-white prints, some galleries, like Yancey Richardson of New York, also show large-scale color works. “There’s a lot of exciting new color work available,” she says. “Today’s technology allows for large-scale color prints. Many of our new collectors have added color photography to contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture collections. It fits in beautifully.”

Auctions. This month, New York will be the site of three photography auctions: at Sotheby’s, Swann Galleries and Christie’s.

A Word on Prints

“Once you find an image you love, your work has just begun,” says Stephen Cohen, a Los Angeles gallerist and creator of the Photo New York, Photo Los Angeles and Photo San Francisco fairs. “The print you buy should be in pristine condition and the provenance in order. The dollar difference in prints of the same image can be as much as 40 percent, depending on condition. Determining factors include whether it’s signed or unsigned and if it’s an earlier or later print.”

“A print is a handmade object,” adds Robert Tat of Robert Tat Fine Photographs in San Francisco. “Each is unique. You must realize you’re buying an object of a certain condition and not an image.”

Caring for Your Collection

“When you’re not displaying your photographs, keep them protected in a flat file,” says Spencer Throckmorton of Throckmorton Fine Art in New York City. He recommends purchasing a flat file (about $700 to $1,000) from an art supply store and using standard black frames fitted with UV Plexiglas in 11-by-14-inch, 16-by-20-inch and 20-by-24-inch sizes. Enclose each photograph in a custom-cut, acid-free mat before framing. “By standardizing your mats and frames, you can easily rotate your collection in gallery-like groupings,” says Throckmorton, who also advises displaying photographs in rooms with diffused light and never in direct sunlight.