What qualities do exceptional art collectors share? What sets good collectors apart from the great?
In my years of working with extraordinary art collectors, the following five qualities stand out:
They know their art cold. They are committed to study, to building networks, and are leaders in their field of choice.
They engage with their communities. Through involvement with museums, universities, researchers, dealers, collectors, and students, they exchange information and help the whole field progress. They publish, exhibit and open their collections to serious study. They have a sense of responsibility for the art in the broadest sense, and their passion for their subject translates to a willingness to engage with others who are equally inspired.
They have a point of view. They have something new to say that moves the conversation forward, and resonates with scholars and brings renewed interest to the field.
They are in it for the art. Exceptional collectors...
To answer this question, let's begin with the objects themselves.
Each object is a piece of material evidence that provides us with insight into the world around us.
A great art collection pulls together a series of objects to form a distinctive narrative. That narrative illuminates a time, a place or a theme in the trajectory of human experience.
In the coming weeks I will be sharing thoughts on the qualities that define notable collectors, what collections reveal about their makers, and the extent to which social interaction is necessary in the building of an exceptional art collection.
Every sound art collection contends with or presents various different themes: colonialism, modernity, history, feminism, activism, globalization, and so on, and focuses on a specific time, place or medium. They can be compared to notable examples within their respective field, in order to illustrate how each is distinctive from its peers. The process of collecting is determined in many ways by collection type, and the social and historical circumstances from which these particular collecting traditions emerged. While notable collections may often be perceived primarily as an expression of social and economic standing, the intensity and dedication with which distinctive collectors have built and researched their collections indicates that a motivation more complex than self-aggrandizement underlies the process. Collectors may be inspired by a variety of concerns that include aesthetics, historical interest, the thrill of the hunt, conservation, education, activism, or the desire to...