This series chronicles my (and I hope soon others') journey to becoming an art collector, with the goal of demystifying the whole concept of collecting. As you will see, I do not have an art history background, and I do not have Picassos covering my walls. There are just pieces of art that I love, and I buy them. That is collecting. See? Not so scary.
In the previous installment of this series, I talked about my first art purchases - pieces bought on trips and at local art festivals, as well as an embarrassing mistake, er. . . learning experience. I still buy art in these ways, but I am a lot more discriminate.
I suppose my next "step" as a collector was an "almost" gallery experience. I was visiting my best friend from college in New York, and we spent a few hours walking around the Chelsea galleries. Living in New York, I think the gallery-going, cultural immersion was a lot more natural for him. For me, it was overwhelming, confusing, and totally fun. I still remember some of the shows we saw.
We walked into Yossi Milo's gallery, and I saw some photographs by Myoung Ho Lee. Loved. Drooled. Looked at the pricing sheet. Couldn't afford. One of his images had just been on the cover of Art News (or Art Forum?). He finds a tree in its natural environments and erects a white backdrop behind it. He later removes the support wires for the backdrop in photoshop, but the rest is untouched. If you want to read more about his work, here is a NYTimes article, and this is a write up on LensCulture (apparently LensCulture was the first to publish the work online, in 2007).
After I went home, I googled. I found a few of his prints in a special sale from LensCulture online. At the time, I was only slightly familiar with LensCulture, and to my knowledge, they only offered a few of these special edition print sales. The photograph I wanted was available for $1100 from LensCulture (I think it started at $5000 or $6000 at the gallery). Even at the LensCulture price, this was a big purchase for us, and we thought about it for a while. Finally, we made the plunge, and it is still one of my favorite photographs.
Only much later, after I began collecting more photography, did I realize why the LensCulture print was so much more affordable than the same image from Yossi Milo (sorry Yossi!). It was because the LensCulture print was in an edition of 30 (the regular edition the gallery was selling was an edition of 6, I believe). So again, more learning. #artisawesome