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the Industry: Lisa Hunter

To jump start yet another new feature on myninjaplease- the Industry, we would like to introduce an interview with Lisa Hunter. Hunter is the author of a new book entitled The Intrepid Art Collector: The Beginner’s Guide to Finding, Buying, and Appreciating Art on a Budget and a resident blogger where you can find more information on art collecting. For those that don’t know (I’m not sure that I do), the Industry looks at the art side of business per say (whether it be in music, photography or even some sciences).


How do you value art?

I think art’s value is in how much it challenges you to think. It’s financial value is how much other people want it, and that’s not a great reason to buy something. Art isn’t this season’s "it" bag.

What challenges face the art industry today?

The recession is hammering dealers, and making it even harder for artists to get galleries. Meanwhile, collectors who need to sell aren’t necessarily getting top prices for their art, so really everyone is suffering. However, if you’re a collector who does have cash, this is a great time to buy and to support the art market.

When does an individual make the cross-over from being an owner of art, to being a collector?

Some people say it’s when you have more art in storage than on the walls. But I think there’s a certain personality type that becomes a collector. It’s usually people who collected other things from a young age. I’ll bet you that every single one of the ArtNews Top 200 Collectors have a collection of trolls or baseball cards or spatterware pitchers somewhere in the basement.

What advice would you give to the novice art collector?

Look around a lot before you buy — whether by going to galleries or reading art magazines. Collecting is like dating. After a while you know exactly what you want, and you recognize it when you see it.

Which places do you see as having the best new art?

I always enjoy art school exhibitions, especially the School of Visual Arts’ MFA show. I collect photography, and it’s staggering how many of my favorite artists went to SVA.


D&AD New Blood Exhibition

How do you view the emergence of websites/galleries that offer ‘prints’ of art for sale?

It depends on what you mean by "prints." If the artist creates a print, that’s a piece of original art worth owning. If someone else — a museum shop or poster store — makes a print based on a painting, that’s a reproduction. A reproduction isn’t bad per se, but shouldn’t cost more than any other decorative poster.

Which group of people do you feel should be buying art, that presently is not?

Anyone who loves art but thinks collecting is just for the rich.

What are some key attributes that make a successful artist?

Good question! So many how-to guides from artists are about mailing in your slides to a gallery with a cover letter. The art world is all about personal relationships and referrals. The best thing an artist can have is an advocate who’s taken seriously by galleries, curators or collectors.

What differentiates photographers-who use a machine, and other visual artists- who work by hand)?

Well, a lot of the artists who "work by hand" actually use somebody else’s hands. Today’s art is often highly conceptual, and many artists hire anonymous "fabricators" to make the physical object — sort of the way a director hires a cinematographer. So I don’t consider non-photographic art to be "purer." Photography does involve machinery, but it’s really about making images with light. And it’s just as hard to take a truly great photograph as it is to create a great painting.


Untitled Film Still #15, Cindy Sherman, 1978

What makes an art gallery profitable (there are so many struggling galleries now days)?

I have no idea, and that’s why I haven’t started my own gallery.

Are you a fan of online auctions that feature fine art?

Yes, IF you know and trust the source. I’m especially fond of Dan Cooney’s on-line photography auctions. He’s a real connoisseur with a blue-chip art background, and his selections are always interesting.

What do you think your collection will look like in ten years?

I don’t know, but I hope it has a Cindy Sherman film still.


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Posted: August 26th, 2009
at 3:54pm by Koookiecrumbles

Tagged with ,

Categories: contemporary,the industry

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