Have you ever wandered through a museum, gazing room-by-room at masterpieces from the past — Rembrandt, Dali, Picasso, Bosch — and wondered where they may have been prior to placement under bullet-proof glass and devilish security behind the granite walls of Art Culture? How many great pieces of art go directly from artist’s easel to museum wall? Most have some lifetime outside of art infamy — auctions and acquisitions, barters and trades. At some point, did the painting you see in the Met live on someone’s bedroom wall? Sit ignored in an upstairs closet? Hang out of sight in a guest bath?
Not all art is fame and fortune and most great art has a history. I think of these things when I buy a new piece of art. At the opening, the public sees the artist’s latest vision — new statements of creativity, lovingly created, carefully displayed. A set of work representing a period in an artist’s evolving career, there for the public to experience and behold, usually for a month or more before the exhibit is torn down and another is hung in its place.
I always feel a little guilty when my latest acquisition is taken off display, wrapped in brown paper, and handed over to my care, never again to be on public display. I take these treasures back to my home, place them upon my walls, lock them behind my own security system (no bullet-proof glass, but safe nonetheless) and selfishly — solitarily — enjoy their wonder and magnificence. My doors aren’t open for public view. Yes, family, friends and visitors share my good fortune, but the accessibility afforded a gallery show — the museum experience deserving of a great piece of art — is passed. At least until such a time that centuries pass and some generation decides “this art” is worthy of preservation.
(Actually, it’s not quite true that the art I’ve acquired is forever taken from public view… several of the pieces in my collection have been loaned back to the artists for retrospectives or museum shows.)
The web affords me the opportunity to share my collection without setting up a ticket booth and gold ropes. As many of you are already aware, most all of the art I’ve acquired can be found on the Collection pages of this site. Of course, the image itself only tells you part of the story about a piece of art… Will history care that Gary Baseman’s I Am Your Pinata once hung in my library or that Mark Ryden’s Kate (affectionately called “TV Girl” by my friends) used to hang next to one of my television sets? Probably not… but, centuries from now if one of these pieces is hanging in a museum… someone like me might wonder.
Scroll on back to the floor plan at the top of this page to start your tour of my “Living With Art” series. Or, just click on the photo below to enter my house and begin the tour.