It's just too easy to select famous artists for a collection !
Richard Mayhew, Philip Pearlstein, Jean Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, Jeff Koons, Georgia O'Keeffe, Damien Hirst, Richard Hunt, Kara Walker, Judy Pfaff, Gordon Parks, Elizabeth Catlett, Faith Ringgold, Ed Paschke, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Murray, Kerry James Marshall, Geraldine McCullough, Walker Evans, William H. Johnson, Henry O. Tanner, Joshua Johnston, Mary Cassatt, Glenn Ligon, Martin Puryear, Edmonia Lewis, and many other gold seal artists are easy choices, if you have the money.
I have a few in my collection, but I purchased a student work recently. And have purchased art by emerging artists and artists whose work I like regardless of their exhibition history, degrees, or critical reviews. Thank goodness the same has been done for me.
Members of the three year old Chicago collectors organization, Diasporal Rhythms, have buoyed many local and national artists under the leadership of Daniel T. Parker and Patric McCoy.
Here are the really rich collectors. Forbes has a list. Take a look at this mind-boggling read.
What collectors, of any stripe, can artists hope to attract? Remember when Brad Pitt purchased a piece of high school student work from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago? That's lucky! Not that Brad Pitt or any other celebrity should make a difference, but the idea is that they can buy any thing they choose and have traveled and experienced a lot of work so they may have an experienced eye for art.
I have been added to some very good collections, too many to enumerate, but I would love to be in more. I went to a talk by some well-known collectors at a museum on the southside of Chicago. I had seen them on CBS Sunday Morning. I had also heard my uncle's name (Jack T. Franklin) mentioned as a premier photographer on CBS Sunday Morning when he was in an exhibition at the Smithsonian. So I was not intimidated by these collectors that I went to hear speak when they visited Chicago.
As I listened to them and saw the representative works in their collection I became very aware that these were collectors who were following the crowd, purchasing already well-established artists. When I asked them how one got seen by them, you know, I would really love for you to see my work, kinda thing, I was told if I had to ask then it wasn't for me.
I took that to mean one of two things:
1. I should just forget about being added to their collection since I am not Henry O. Tanner, Joshua Johnston, Elizabeth Catlett or Johnathan Green.
2. They were not interested in work by anyone not on the usual list.
(The catch-22 operates. )
Should we care what collections we are in?
If we do care, what can we do to raise our visibility?
I can see that associations with other artists makes a difference and increases visibility. The Spiral Group, The Hairy Who and Imagists, The Guerrilla Girls , even looking back to the Cubist collaboration between Picasso and Braque, the Impressionists who produced separate exhibitions, and in the 1960's the AfriCobra artists.
Should the artists in Chicago create a NEW art style? Pass-it-on art could be fun. Like that game where you whisper down the line and see what you get at the end. One artist could start a piece and send it on from one artist to the next to see what ends up. The last artists signs the piece. If 20 works start and end up with one of 20 artists then each artist would complete one piece for a group exhibition. A new kind of collaboration and a challenge to creativity as well as a statement on cooperation, something we are desperate for locally, nationally and globally.
What about a top ten list of things artists should do to get their name out there?
Anni Holm, a Chicago-based performance artist literally had people (I was one who volunteered standing in front of Macy's) hold up signs with her name on it to "get her name out there".
I have work to do so I am ending this one, but while I work, can you send out some answers, some anecdotes, some other questions???
The photo above is of artists honored by Diasporal Rhythms at Gallery Guichard...my painting "Writers on the Roof" in the D.E. Simmons collection, is in background. I am 2nd from the right. Left to right, Gallery Guichard owner, Andre Guichard, Malika, Joyce Owens and Faheem Majeed, sculptor, fellow Howardite and executive director of Chicago's South Side Community Art Center.