On Collectors' Museums, or pot kettle, kettle pot

WP art critic Blake Gopnik is wants calling for DC's bigwig art collectors--capitalists all, who else can afford a Richter?--to go communist, and open a collective to share their hoard with the contemporary art-starved DC public.

It'll never happen, but not for the reasons Tyler Green thinks. If Miami's experience is any indication, hyper-competitive, status-hungry collectors who open exhibition spaces have less than a 1 in 4 chance of not embarassing themselves.

[When I first did the rounds of the big Miami collections five years ago, I realized four people had--independently? in competition with each other?--bought nearly identical Oldenburgs, the original of which is at the National Gallery. In DC. And when I was introduced to one as a 'fellow collector,' her first question was, "Do you collect Gursky? Struth?" Which is unbelievably tacky art world shorthand for "Do you have over $10 million? or do you make over $2 million a year?" The only possible answers, by the way, are "Oh, not any more." or "Who?"]

Basically, I worry that most collectors would be too self-important, possibly too clueless, and almost certainly too thin-skinned to be able to pull something like this off.

If Blake's determined, though, he should get in touch with the Rubells, whose Rubell Family Collection put the pressure on their Miami peers in the first place, and who bought a hotel in Washington last year.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: August 17, 2004.

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