our #class: "Collecting with Your Eye, Not Your Ears"

portraits of the collectors, at home (featuring a sculpture by Mària Alòs, in one of over two dozen images Fette pulled out of our apartment, and now displayed on her gorgeous site, the flog.)

Barry and I are putting together a panel which will gather at 6 pm February 27, as a part of William Powhida and Jennifer Dalton's month-long project "#class"* at Winkleman Gallery. The two artists say their initiative is partly a response to the Dakis Joannou/Jeff Koons show opening in March at the New Museum, but they describe the larger scope of their bold, and very brave venture in this excerpt from their press release:

#class will turn Winkleman Gallery into a "think tank", where we will work with guest artists, critics, academics, dealers, collectors and anyone else who would like to participate to examine the way art is made and seen in our culture and to identify and propose alternatives and/or reforms to the current market system. By "current market system" we mean the commercial model and attendant commodification of art, but also the unquantifiable, intangible, unpaid aspects of participating in the art world.

There are already a large number of events and, well, "classes" scheduled, and more are still being added. As I understand it, anyone who has a proposal can get in touch with the artists, who will be in residence, so to speak, inside the gallery throughout the period of the project.

Barry and I have chosen to talk about collecting, how to go about it with even the most limited of resources and ambitions, how to avoid making it a job or a contest, but instead a reward, a continuous delight, and one which can be shared. We're calling the discussion "Collecting with Your Eye, Not Your Ears". The announcement materials for our particular segment read:

What motivates collectors to acquire work? Is it what you hear about an artist or is it the work itself? It can't just be to fill the New Museum or flip at auction! Barry Hoggard and James Wagner have been invited to lead a discussion around how and why people build private collections, with an emphasis on the committed enthusiast with limited funds.

The evening is intended to address collecting, not as a hobby, furniture or investment, but as a way of repurposing a worthy human impulse in danger of being reduced to a convention, an adornment, even a racket.

We will be referring to our modest, pretty diverse and now sizable collection, which we've just made available on line (our timing was only a coincidence, but our biggest surprise was learning that no one else does it). We will describe the collection's genesis and current form, and how we live in the middle of it, although we know that even in its most general description, our approach may not work for everyone.

Helping us to move beyond our own experience will be a panel in which we expect to include one or more artists, collectors, advisers, gallerists, curators, enablers and connectors, with some of them doubling in those roles. We are inviting a number of people to sit around the big table whose experience can inform the discussion further, and I hope we will all be fortunate enough to find the room host to others who have heard about the event and are interested in the subject.

We intend the evening to be as non-hierarchical as possible: It's free, open to anyone who wants to come, and everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion and its energy. Just watching and listening will be okay too.

The artist and - information science specialist - Julia Weist will be our moderator/facilitator.

check out the daily schedule in the column to the right on the #class site

[image courtesy of Fette]

Wow James, this event has tremendous potential... I'll be pondering this..