1. What was the first work of art you ever bought? The first work of art I bought was a colored pencil on paper portrait of an angry clown by Nayland Blake. Matthew Marks Gallery offered this piece at the Gramercy Hotel fair in the 1990s for $750. The Gramercy fair was a first, before art fairs became de rigueur. It had a scrappy vitality—a real "can-do" spirit—that was such fun to be part of. I was lucky to start collecting when the stakes were lower and a freewheeling atmosphere prevailed. The team of galleries that organized the hotel fair went on to create the Armory Show several years later. 2. What is your favorite piece in your collection? Why? My favorite piece is a graphite-on-paper drawing by Rosemarie Trockel. Drawings are my first love and the foundation of my collection, and Trockel is a smart German artist whose oeuvre touches on both figuration and abstraction, two of my passions. The drawing depicts a woman's portrait embedded in a network of crosshatch lines that refer to Trockel's signature machine-knit canvases. Figure and ground are so absolutely intertwined that it's impossible to see one motif without the other. I am fascinated by this space between abstraction and figuration, where my mind can wander without being held to one specific visual experience. 3. Who are your favorite emerging and established artists? I prefer to speak in more general terms for the purposes of this Q&A. I have always engaged with the art of my time as it relates to past art historical movements. I am specifically drawn to 1950s and 1960s abstraction, from both in American and Europe. I am equally drawn to German Expressionism between the two World Wars. One the one hand, I love abstraction. It amazes me that someone else's mark making, depicting no actual image, can move me so profoundly. On the other hand, I love the pathos, decadence, and abject beauty of works by Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, and Gustav Klimt. Contemporary artists who creatively engage with either of these admittedly disparate dialogues interest me. From Pop art, Minimalism, and Postmodernism to now, I look seriously at the young artists who confront these earlier ideas and push them to a new place. Whether an artist's concerns are formal or conceptual, I am engaged by work that draws on an historical context while being new and different. Whether an artist's concerns are formal or conceptual, I am engaged by work that draws on an historical context while being new and different. As the late MoMA curator Kirk Varnedoe rightfully stated in a series of lectures at Princeton University, young artists need to kill off their heroes in the process of becoming heroes to the next generation. I seek out the artists who are in that state of becoming. 4. What are your favorite art spaces? The Fondation Beyeler in Basel and the Menil Collection in Houston, particularly the Rothko Chapel and the building that houses the Cy Twombly paintings. 5. If you had any amount to spend on a work of art, what would you buy? I would buy a Leonardo da Vinci portrait drawing, ideally a study for the Mona Lisa. As far as I know, one doesn't exist, but that's okay because this is a hypothetical situation anyway. 6. What advice do you have for beginning collectors? Before you buy anything, spend a lot of time looking at art, going to galleries, visiting museums, and talking to people who know about art. Read a textbook about art history so you can start to recognize styles and periods. Familiarize yourself with great private collections by going to museums like the Frick, the Morgan Library, or the Barnes Foundation, where the collections put together by individuals are still intact. Visit auction previews, or flip through auction catalogues, and look at the auction results. If you are not confidant beginning on your own, hire an art advisor. Advisors are impartial advocates for the collector. We furnish critical information and provide access to the art you wish to collect that might be out of reach if you begin on your own. An advisor can also explain the market for an artist's work, so when you decide to purchase something you understand the pricing.
The Young and the Restless
Curator: Wendy Cromwell
Profession: President, Art Advisor, Cromwell Art LLC
Location: New York, NY
About The Curator
About Wendy Cromwell
Wendy Cromwell established her advisory firm in 2002, following 15 years of professional experience in contemporary art. With complete discretion and full knowledge of the art market, she builds art collections of lasting value for private clients. Her professional guidance is based on a deep grounding in art history, years of in-depth looking at countless works of art, and an expert network of global art world contacts. Cromwell Art offers a full range of services, including art education, acquisition strategies, long-term collection planning, art appraisals, and de-accession advice. We believe that learning about and living with works of art is life enriching. Cromwell Art creates a seamless and enjoyable art collecting experience for our clients. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
About The Collection
About The Young and the Restless
This collection has a young state of mind: it's full of fresh work by youthful artists. Some have a political point of view, others an eye toward human interaction. Although young, the artists included in this collection already have established careers and are represented by strong galleries. The pieces selected are highly representative of each artist's practice and present the opportunity to own a meaningful work of art at an entry-level price point.