Kati Curtis Design

The Art and Science of Collecting in Today's Market

To kick off the Pavilion of Art and Design at the Park Avenue Armory this weekend, I attended a panel discussion hosted by 1st Dibs on “collecting in today’s market”. I thought it was going to be more about collecting antiques, but it was an all-encompassing commentary on art – including architecture, sculpture, decorative and fine arts. The discussion was lead by experts in the field of art and design who shard their diverse views on the state of the marketplace today.

The panel was moderated by Benjamin Genocchio, the Editor and Chief of Art and Auction magazine. Panelists included Kyle DeWoody, Creative Director and Founder of Grey Area, Anthony Barzilay Freund, Editor and Director of Fine Art for 1st Dibs, Jim Hedges, collector and President of Montage Finance, Jason Jaques, Owner of Jason Jacques Gallery, and Nick Olney, Director of the Paul Kasmin Gallery.

A piece from Kasmin's current collection

Jim started the conversation from a viewpoint of  someone who started in finance and then moved to art investing. He commented on the  similarity between the hedge fund world and art collecting – paying attention to what performs well in the art world, however volatile.

Kyle then rebutted, emphasizing the emotional connection to art asking, “what are the things that make you want to collect?” She feels that collecting should be more emotional than mathematical, and that it is important to know the story around the art. She selects items for her website, Grey Area based on her relationships with the artist and the beauty of the pieces themselves.

Glass Chairs by Tobias Wong available from Grey Area

So then, how to bridge the emotional and financial when selecting art? Nick chimed in on the importance of  practicing your eye, getting to know the galleries, writers and curators who are interesting to you and  getting into the “crowd”.

Jason spoke more in depth about developing an eye and taste – going out there and seeing art fairs and getting involved. Jason says he’s  “constantly trying to buy the next thing I’m in love with”.

All panelists commented on the massive increases in collecting during the ’90s.  Jason attributed this change to accessibility due to the internet. The Art world had been small and insular, and with explosion of art fairs and online galleries, art has been opened up to all!

Sculpture by Maya Lin available at 1stDibs

Jim mentioned that he does believe in an emotional connection to art, and quoted that a collector should always be “hit in all chakras”  by a piece and if it also has investment characteristics that are great than it’s a win win.

All pointed out the obvious increasing intersection of art and design. Kyle felt that design is all about that now, and that artists making objects  could only be a good thing. Back in the 80’s it was taboo for “artists” to create furniture and objects. Jason mentioned that in the East ceramics are the highest form of art, but Western culture sees ceramics as a lesser art form. Neither are the case anymore.

All panelists felt there is a growing connection between the fine and decorative arts and that the lines are blurring. As collectors, as well as consumers are demanding a more curated and unique experience and the market must step up. We couldn’t be happier with that!


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