Thursday, May 22, 2008

Information Overload / Art Collecting Panel at Artomatic

Last night, collector and advocate, Philippa Hughes of the Pink Line Project hosted Information Overload! Art Collecting 101 Crash Course panel at Artomatic. It was informative and inspiring, an insightful look at beginning collecting by experts in the Washington DC area.
The panel consisted of
* Sharon Burton, Authentic Art Consulting
* Lenny Campello, Artist, art critic, MidAtlantic Art News
* Martin Irvine, Irvine Contemporary Art Gallery
* JW Mahoney, Artist, art critic, and curator
* Moderator: Fred Ognibene

See a list of the resources for beginning collectors on my blog sidebar, courtesy of Irvine Contemporary Director, Martin Irvine. The gist is to use resources everyday to get information about the artists that interest you and about other artists who are in the news. Look at pictures in publications like ArtForum (the Vogue of art magazines), says Mahoney. Information is essential and one must cull through the overload to find what is useful says Irvine.

If you've ever thought about collecting, NOW is the time to jump in according to JW Mahoney. There is much offered in Washington, DC at the galleries, art organizations, student exhibitions and venues like Artomatic. Mahoney states that we are now experiencing a Renaissance in the arts. According to Irvine, DC is known for its diversity and excellence in artists and galleries at the national level at art fairs. The panel agreed that art in DC does not receive adequate coverage in the local papers like the Washington Post. They have one attuned journalist on staff. With the lack of press coverage, we are missing a player(s) in the field. Role, responsibility and contribution to the arts should be wake up calls for the press, not to mention the excellent content and diversity of what is happening in the arts in DC. There are many bloggers who are filling the information gap beautifully and we STILL need the print media to roll the presses on the art world in DC. The printed word and pictures still hold weight in the minds of collectors and the art world.

Lenny Campello offers these guideline to beginning collectors:
1-Buy What you Like.
2-Buy the original.
3-If you can't afford it, ask the dealer about something smaller in your budget. Galleries will work with you.
4-Look at prints as another option.

Campello says, Don't expect artists prices to be different in the studio than in the gallery. The value of the artists work stays the same whether work is seen in a studio setting, a DC Gallery or a gallery in another city.

Sharon Burton recommends visiting open studios and going to artist talks to acquaint yourself with the artists process of creating the work and to learn about their concepts. Visit galleries and art organizations to discover the art that you like. Blogs play a very big part in getting the word out about exhibitions. Burton recommends looking through auction catalogs. Mahoney suggests....Talk to other collectors for recommendations on artists and galleries. Visit artists studios to learn about and interact with the artist.

According to Martin Irvine, art is about information. Good galleries inform collectors about the artists and about the general art field. The whole system is based on trust. The art gallery's main mission is (should be) to create value for its artists and collectors.

Thanks to collector, Fred Ognibene for moderating this excellent panel and the panelists who gave excellent advice for new collectors.
Let's have more of these Phillipa!


  1. Hi Ann...

    Great report! Next time come and say hi!


  2. What a great panel discussion! Wish I could have attended!

    Annie A.