The Last Gallery on Earth
Once you get intimate with art, you don't know what will happen
The mulch, 2018
Here are some ways you can reap the benefits of art without having to buy it.
Contemporary art connects you to life in the most unexpected and innovative ways. It communicates sensations and feelings and is bought to us by the most eclectic, disruptive, brilliant thinkers. It is an experiential way rather than an intellectual way of learning. It's hard to understand, and those who come to some understanding comprehend it uniquely.
Ask yourself what collecting art means to you.
People associate collecting art with elitism. For many people I talk to, this is where the misconception begins. Think glamour, parties, extreme wealth, billion-dollar sales at Christie's that make world news, unwelcoming gallerists, and a select few on the private jet attending every art fair, which is all very accurate. However, this is only representative of a tiny part of this world. An entire galaxy exists of people making, exhibiting, collecting, and exploring art. Most of these people don't participate in the art world glamour. Collecting art is more than that. It's a personal, selective process that lets you discover and expand your taste. Art is transformational and your most powerful tool for understanding yourself and others - like the people you love. Let me share with you some ways you can collect art that is eternally yours and how thinking freely about art can lead to self-development.
Coexist with art. Go to galleries, museums, and openings. See as much art as you can. See a range of art, even art outside your budget. The more art you see, the more you will see trends of what you gravitate to and what makes your body melt. It is a blessing to be in a space with nothing to do but experience your surroundings. There is nothing to understand here. Let that feeling go. You will find ample material for your imaginary collection - the one you just started - here. A broad and diverse range will help you refine your vocabulary of what you think is cool and what you think is good. Start your collection in your mind, on your phone (Pinterest board, Instagram, in your notes), or in a journal. Note what you like - the artist, the date, the medium, the curator, the space. Archive these and live with them. Coexist with the art you love. Coexisting will unfold new meanings. The more you build upon your collection, the more you notice patterns and narratives. These will make sense to you because they're authentically you and, over time, will expand your vocabulary to describe these works. With an expanded vocabulary, you will look for deeper and more complex meanings. You're teaching yourself what you like through new ways of understanding contemporary art. If you're doing this, you're evolving.
Be critical. Talk about art the way you talk, write and think about everything. Practicing criticism will enable you to develop a mental vocabulary to decide what you feel is good, a personal criterion. Notice how the art is exhibited, and ask yourself why? What do you like? Talk to gallerists and curators and ask questions. Their role is educational and to communicate the artists' work to the world. If they look at you like you're not going to drop $20k that day, go back with your whole group of friends day in and day out until they know you by name. Take your friends (if you have none take me) and talk to people in galleries. Ask them what they think of the art you are both experiencing. You will quickly see how many people perceive the same artwork differently. Conversations with people beyond your inner circle are sublime. Don't feel intimidated by art. If it feels unnecessarily obscure or complicated, it's probably pretentious. Care less about what you see. Just be there.
Tumbling heads, 2006
Playing me #1, 2018
Rachel de Joode
I dream of you in colours that don't exist, 2013
Embrace your taste. The way beauty is defined is unfiltered and subjective. An outpour of emotions can come from the stroke of a brush. It can come from appreciating a moment of tenderness or pain in something in front of you. Also, accept that you'll find a lot of art you see as lifeless and inaccessible. It's part of the process. Refrain from letting the price of art influence your judgment. Don't feel obliged to agree that a work of art is good just because of its price. Money is a global currency to classify art. The cost of art is arbitrary and contrived unpredictably and inconsistently. It's impossible to quantify and qualify how art affects us because it works in mysterious and latent ways and allows for something that can't be defined. What is dictated and exhibited in galleries and fairs now is separate from what will be in art history textbooks in 30 or 40 years. If you don't like it, use that mental vocabulary to go beyond the possible and into the imaginable.
Ok, Okay Teal, 2018
Collecting art is a twofold phenomenon. There is the art story coupled with the story of the collector. Now the collector is you. All you need to start your collection is desire. What defines people that collect is curiosity - this energizes the collector. Collecting becomes an extension of the experiences you live and breathe. Imagination and creativity are not bonuses to humanity. They are an essential part of what makes us human. Grow an unparalleled collection of art. Keep it strange for yourself and surprising for the rest.
Where does this leave us? At The Last Gallery on Earth. The place where your art collection exists, curated by you. Art doesn't come with a trigger warning. What engages you can happen inexplicably. Art, by its nature, is disruptive. Disruption leads to ideas. Ideas lead to infinite inspiration, creative possibilities, and an endless means to explore ourselves and others. Accessibility is the only consistency throughout your collection. The Last Gallery on Earth is the one thing that distinguishes you from any other human or species. It's your daily prayer in your sacred space. It's the force that guides you to art that speaks your language.
All art captured in this thought piece are a part of my Last Gallery on Earth.
By Amalia Mitsopoulos
The snake, the boy and the charmer, 2021
You who are my love and my lifes enemy too, 2011
Imran Qureshi (below)