I just found this tiny mention of me in the Washington Examiner. Along with four other art collectors, I helped select art for the current group show of recent art school grads at Irvine Contemporary. I think it’s a great idea for gallerists to invite their loyal collectors to participate in this process, rather than always telling us what we should like and what we should buy. Although I appreciate the guidance, I also have a pretty good idea of what I like when it comes to art. Kudos to Irvine for coming up with this unique and innovative approach to curating. The show is still hanging for another couple weeks.
A D.C. art gallery decided to let art collectors rather than curators decide which emerging artists would be featured in its latest exhibition. Irvine Contemporary incorporated the opinions of five local collectors when selecting its pieces for “Introductions3”, which Assistant Director Lauren Gentile says highlights the work of recent art college graduates. Gentile said this is the first time collectors have played this role in a gallery exhibit. Tim Cone, Joseph DiGangi, Philippa Hughes, Henry Thaggert and Melissa Schronder participated, each with distinctly different collections, she said. Irvine Contemporary staff narrowed down more than 250 submissions and then involved the collectors with the final decisions, Gentile said. The artists’ identities were concealed from the collectors during the selection process so they could focus solely on the work itself. The Irvine’s staff wanted to have art selected from the perspective of individuals that artists would reach out to commercially. “These are the people which are going to be supporting the careers of young artists, supplying them with the income they need to continue to create work, and also to eat,” Gentile said. The resulting exhibit is an eclectic mix of 11 artists’ work, ranging from string art to sculpture. Virginia Commonwealth University graduate Erin Colleen Williams creates objects that mix together imaginary inventions and actual technology, such as one featured in the exhibit with the appearance of a mechanical heart. Maura Q. Brewer from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sculpture and Drawings, fashioned geometric shapes using men’s dress shirts. Tom Pergola, a Los Angeles-based artist manager, said he had never heard of any exhibit taking the same approach Irvine has for selecting its works. “I think it’s a good idea,” Pergola said. “Sooner or later, art has to get on a wall, and it comes down to whether a buyer likes it or not.”