Over the course of my career in the museum and gallery world, seeing the democratization of art through digitization of collections, use of social media and crowd sourcing by museums, alongside the increase in alternative spaces for exhibitions on the gallery level has been very inspiring.
As I reflect on the needs of my clients who are looking to tap into these relatively new ways of interaction with art to increase their visibility nationally and internationally, I have been doing a great deal of research on the ways cultural institutions and alternative spaces can address and are addressing this cultural shift.
Here are a few books, podcasts and articles to read that have inspired my work and thinking about how cultural institutions can utilize some of these principles and ideas to create a deeper and more meaningful connection with their intended audiences.
I am so pleased to have two major projects I have worked on opening soon.
1) Chicago History Museum's Inspiring Beauty: Fifty Years of Ebony Fashion Fair opening at The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum on March 30.
I was so pleased to be able to bring this important exhibition to my hometown of Washington, DC. Inspiring Beauty is the first-ever exhibition about the Ebony Fashion Fair. It is a story of vision, innovation and power told through the history of Eunice Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company, and the prism of iconic fashion from Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent and Patrick Kelly among others.
NPR did a wonderful piece on the exhibition when it first debuted Chicago History Museum in 2014.
2) Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes opening at Winterthur Museum and Gardens on April 1.
This is one I am particularly proud of and so happy to have worked alongside art fraud expert Colette Loll again on an exhibition relating to fakes and forgeries in the art world. Collaborating with Linda Eaton and the incredible team at Winterthur was such an incredible honor, not to mention the numerous colleagues in our field who shared their research and scholarship with us so generously.
Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes exhibits over 40 objects including artwork, couture, silver, sporting memorabilia, wine, musical instruments, antiquities, and stamps along with ceramics, furniture, and folk art, examining how rarity, supply, and desirability can make anything fair game for a clever forger. Featuring several high profile cases and scientific discoveries, the exhibition highlights how evidence and new scientific techniques reveal the truth regarding the authenticity of these items and lends insight to the colorful motives behind why they were created.
Read a review about the exhibition in the Associated Press here.
As a curator and photographer, I love searching for new artists, and ways of displaying artwork. It always inspires me to see how people surround themselves with art. I have been known to rearrange my entire apartment (furniture and artwork) over ten times a year based on what is currently inspiring me, but gathering images also helps me figure out what my clients styles are too.
When I purchased my first condo in January of this year, I went Pinterest crazy as I sought inspiration for my future home, which is still a work in progress. I recently created a specific board for Art I find online as well as curatorial inspiration. Keep checking back as I continue to add to it!
I was honored when DC Modern Luxury Magazine asked me to participate in the December 2016 issue feature, State of the Arts. It was difficult to narrow down my choices for my favorite artists in the city, as the talent in this city continues to grow and change. Read about my picks - artists Ryan Florig, Abi Kallushi and Nate Lewis - here.
I'm off to London and New Delhi today for my work with Art Fraud Insights, LLC. I am excited to have an opportunity to see some incredible art in London and explore Delhi for the first time in between our meetings and work. You can follow me along on my Instagram as I'll be posting as I go along.
I am sad to miss the launch of Washington Studio School's What If... kick-off and party on Sunday October 30th from 4-6pm. As a member of the Board of Directors I have been participating in the What If... challenge, of doing something creative everyday. I hope you will attend and get to know this wonderful institution and community I am happy to be a part of.
I will return on Friday November 4, just in time to celebrate FotoWeekDC and attend the opening of the exhibition I had the honor of Jurying at Hillyer Art Space. The exhibition, FORMAT features artists living across the United States, showing how diverse the medium of photography is, and how many different ways the photography can not only interact with its subject, but also its future audience.
Later in the month, I will be participating in a wonderful panel, How Photography Influences Cross-Cultural Dialogue alongside O. Louis Mazzatenta, Amalia Pizzardi, and Christine Neptune on Thursday November 17, from 6:30-8:30pm as part of the FotoDC Festivities. RSVP here.
On Saturday November 19, I will lead a DIY Digital Pinhole Workshop at Hillyer Art Space from 9:30am - 12pm. The workshop will allow attendees to create modern pinhole cameras, treating our cameras in an analog fashion inspired by the roots of photography and traditional practices, including: how to look at light, frame your subject and how this practice can inspire us to wait for the ‘decisive moment.’ Space is limited to 15 people. Those attending will need to bring their own digital SLR camera, (and tripod and shutter remote if they want but not required). Any photographs taken will not be developed/printed during this workshop. RSVP here.
Looking forward to a wonderful few weeks ahead and hope to see you at some of the events!
Many people ask me, how do I start collecting art? What comes easily to me as a professional whose entire career has involved interacting with the arts in various capacities—as a gallery assistant, an exhibition manager for museum exhibitions, an artist and curator/art producer—it is easy, but for a majority of people it can be intimidating and daunting.
I am lucky to be surrounded by art and having to look at art everyday for my work. Looking at art is the first step to becoming a collector; visit your local museums, go to gallery openings and artist open studios. There is a popular thought that to look at art, you need to understand it. I disagree with that consensus. Think about looking at art as if you were shopping for clothing, or anything else you may be interested in buying. Often times we buy something because we simply just like it, it looks good on us, we feel good when wearing it and happy when we do it. The same logic can be applied to both looking at and buying art. Go with your gut, view a lot of art, then ask yourself what trends emerge in the style of art you find yourself drawn to and why.
Working in the museum field for many years, I have a deeper appreciation for art that does not align with the style of works I collect but I have a deep appreciation for the artistic intent, and the larger social and historical meaning of a work after I read about it. You can develop this sense of appreciation with too, but first just simply go look at it and observe. I also continuously read a lot about collecting art, and wanted to share some great sources I have read and listened to recently:
Most importantly, collecting art and looking at art should not be a stressful process. Start in a approachable fashion and the rest will come along.