This past weekend I was given a tour of a private collection in Seattle. I’ve been to many collectors’ homes and been unimpressed by the sheer sense of accumulation and lack of vision – always gorgeous furniture. To my delight this collection was both savvy and highly personal. There was also a no-holds bar approach to the selection and presentation.
What struck me most about the collection was its tone – it was intense! The couple neither struck me as intense in appearance nor in temper. How could this be given their kitchen breakfast nook was flanked by a kinetic razor butterfly sculpture by Rebecca Horn (an homage to the Marquise de Sade) and a long and devastating procession piece by William Kentridge?
The old adage of buying work for over the coach is way out as we know – this was simply on another level all together. While I loved it, I think I would have moved the emerging Mexican street artist’s found weapons piece out of the front hall, opposite the entry. For feng shui purposes.
On the same day I was able to visit three museums, yet another reminder that generally the majority of the best work of contemporary artists is sitting in collectors’ homes and warehouses. So often contemporary museums these days feel a little like chocolate boxes (one Sherman, one Hirst, and a taste of Baldessari). Whereas certain collectors have works with a real vision – the vision may not suit your taste, but it is truly unique and special.
Which in turn should give artists the courage and faith to make the work that hits you hard in the gut/heart/head. It’s often our doubt that tells us not to make certain work (who would want this? Or who would want to hear this thing I am saying?). So down with self editing, and up with faith that there are those who may enjoy your work – even if it has razors, tears or despair. Not only will they like your work, they’ll have their Cheerios with it!
Image courtesy of private collectors and the artist, Annette MessagerTagged: contemporary art collectors, Seattle