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Ann Arbor art consulting

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Coming up: March 2016

The spring exhibition season is kicking off with an incredible show and I'm excited to announce it today. I met (paper) artist Laura Makar just a few months ago when she submitted her pieces for consideration. I emailed her immediately. 

Sure-Lock , 2015, 29 x 42 inches, cut paper

Sure-Lock, 2015, 29 x 42 inches, cut paper

Her work isn't just about cut paper. Laura understands the broader sense of creating a moment, a composition larger than where the edges of the paper restrain our experience. The lines undulate in magically growing ways, but if you look really closely, you can see it's human-made. Incredible. 

The opening is on Friday, March 4th and we're making it an early evening so we can hop across the street to celebrate the new season at First Fridays Ypsilanti Gala, where I'll be the keynote speaker for the evening. So mark your calendars and wish us lots of luck for a beautiful night, celebrating visual arts, culture and friends in Ypsilanti. 

 

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Natural Selection opening with Megan Williamson

This past Friday I got to see my dear friend and talented artist Megan Williamson. We're showing her exhibit Natural Selection, fifteen recent works,  through June 30th. She and her son Gavin drove in from Chicago for the opening to talk about a variety of landscapes, still lifes and floral paintings. (There were also two drawings done in her signature sumi ink on Claycoat paper and an abstract oil of a storm, aptly titled Storm). 

I first met Megan through a friend of a friend and was immediately taken with her aesthetic. I showed her work back in 2009 and it's a pleasure to champion her work which belongs in over 100 private and public collections throughout the world. She's been featured on Design*Sponge and has limited editions on Artfully Walls.  Her work is beautiful and immersive. 

Megan Williamson talks about her latest landscapes with Executive Director of Riverside Art Center, Will Hathaway.

Megan Williamson talks about her latest landscapes with Executive Director of Riverside Art Center, Will Hathaway.

We had enthusiastic crowds throughout the evening and lots of activity on the street – another successful First Fridays Ypsilanti!

We urge you to stop in and see this exhibit. Megan is truly a master of color, line and form and this is a show not to be missed. This is our last exhibit of the spring season and we'll highlight previous artists for upcoming FFY nights (with an art sale on July 10th and August 7th). Thanks to everyone that has been a patron the first four months of our exhibition history. It's been a blast!

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Client Highlight: Dreamscapes Art Studio

Last weekend we had the privilege of photographing for a new client, Dreamscapes Art Studio and owner, Dolores Graham. The studio is above bustling Main Street in Ann Arbor and receives western exposure, with fabulous light coming through the windows. Dolores offers classes for children and adults, including a holiday workshop this Friday during Midnight Madness. Check out the studio and find out more about their events on their Facebook page.

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We're Getting a Space!

I still can't believe it happened because everything happened so quickly but...we signed a lease on a studio today! A couple months ago it didn't even seem feasible but things literally just came down to timing and luck. Nick and I had looked at storefront retail space in downtown Ypsilanti a few weeks ago. It was a large main room with great light (facing the west), a square shaped office and a makeshift "kitchen" area with bathroom. There was storage in the back and was sandwiched between an existing business and a promising one doing a build-out next door. Then we were told it wasn't available. I'm not going to lie. We sulked. And sulked. 

We didn't talk about it but I'm sure we both thought about it.

Then, a week later Nick got a call and BAM! Just like that, we were back in the game. We did some research, figured out the timing and now we're the proud tenants of 9 S. Washington Street starting November 1st!!! We decided opening day would be 11/11 so if you come by before that we'll be in shambles and running around looking for furniture and cleaning. We will be a mess, but would love to meet you if you're in the neighborhood and want to stop by to say "hello." 

We're so excited to be part of the growing Ypsi scene and we can't wait to show everyone what we have in store. We'll be part photography (and teaching) studio, art space and consulting office. For now, we have limited hours (Tues - Fri, 9 am to 3:30 pm) but will take appointments as they come in. 

Thank you to everyone that has given us advice, good vibes, praise, encouragement and your general and monetary support over the last three years. We couldn't have done this without you. Please come see us soon!

 

Opening day is Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 from 9 am to 3:30 pm

Opening day is Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 from 9 am to 3:30 pm


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Why the Selling of Pieces From the DIA's Collection Might Not Be the Worst Thing After All

The threat of pieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts being sold off popped up in the news again today. I've been stewing over my professional response for a few months. (I used to curate exhibitions and deal American works of art — artists like Alexander Calder, William Merritt Chase, Mary Cassatt with "mid level" price points, $30,000-500,000. One of my previous clients is a well-known collector and avid supporter and lender to the DIA).

When asked, I gave my personal response. Personally, I was adamantly against it. It seemed like a cop out to commodify our regional treasures. Like many in the art community, and particularly those of us that have visited the DIA and relish memories and works from the collection, I was vehemently against this ghastly idea. At first. 

Now don't get me wrong. I still think it's terribly sad and agree with the Museum that it may have a detrimental effect on Detroit's daily and longterm economy but there are a few silver linings, at least from an art world standpoint. Here are a few reasons why.

WE DON'T GET TO SEE MOST OF IT ANYWAY. Museums are fancy storage facilities with exact humidity and temperature control. Some things they show, the majority they do not. They simply can't. During conversations with colleagues in the industry, I've heard estimates that the Art Institute of Chicago shows less than a quarter of its collection. The DIA has 66,000 of which 35,000 are said to be owned by the city and being evaluated for condition and appraised by Christie's. I don't know exactly how much of their collection but we are indeed missing the bulk of it when we visit. 

THESE ART WORKS WILL GET THEIR DUE SPOTLIGHT. Auctions are the barometer of the art industry accounting for about 25% of the market. Even though only a minute percentage will ever dabble in multi-million dollar bidding wars, when auctions do well, the trickle down effect for the art industry is a good one. It's estimated that in 2012, the art industry did $64 billion

If and when the DIA's paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects go to auction they're going to be waltzed across a global stage. Every collector that will potentially ever want that piece is going to be watching and that's just what those pieces deserve.

AND, WAR PUMPS UP SALES FOR ARTISTS. EVEN FOR US LITTLE GUYS DOWN HERE. Let's look at an example. Maybe twenty people in the world that collect art want this triptych:

Francis Bacon,  Three Studies of Lucian Freud 1969 (Christie's.com)

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud 1969 (Christie's.com)

But only seven* of them can afford it. Five of them have capped themselves. That leaves two bidders (on the phone, have a dealer bidding for them on the phone, are sitting on the internet or waving their paddle wildly in the crowd) to fight over it. That's how much a painting is ever worth - how ever high two people with an agenda are willing to go. 

When people start to read about art being used as a commodity, our ears can't help but perk up and we start to take more interest. People start to notice their blank walls, think about acquiring art at the next fair, see themselves joining the exclusive club. Being a "collector" is a status symbol and we all want to be a part of it. With the sale of DIA works, we're going to think twice about taking our public collections for granted. Or so the recent media attention says.

*There were indeed seven battling bidders that pushed the Francis Bacon to break the record for any piece ever sold, ending at $142.4 million at Christie's earlier this month (this includes the 12% buyer's fee).

YOU (OR YOUR GRANDKIDS) WILL SEE THE WORKS AGAIN. AT ANOTHER MUSEUM. Museum-goers (aka common folk like me) sometimes complain that when things are bought privately, we never get to see prized works ever again. Recently, certain tax laws have made it less savory to donors to bequeath their paintings, but there are and will always be collectors that want to leave a legacy. And because art is cyclical in nature (i.e. genres come in and out of vogue, estates unearth works of art to be auctioned off or bequeathed to museums, children sell their parents' collections, curators thrust exhibits into the limelight requiring loans of works from private collections) it's likely your favorite DIA piece will one day see the light of day, at a museum, again.

GOING BACK TO START. I don't like the idea of pieces being sold because they have to be either. I love the feeling of going to the DIA. I don't even have to look at any one work for a long amount of time, I just like to breathe in the atmosphere of the American wing and odors of oil. I just have to remember and keep telling myself, the DIA won't go away and the sale of many pieces would be a PR boon (albeit another sad one) for Detroit. I've decided to look at this like everything else that involves the impending bankruptcy, brazen upstarts and savvy entrepreneurs — this could be an opportunity for the Museum to garner new art, new donors, a fresh start.

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Tiny Expo 2013 at Kerrytown Shops

We're so excited to be a part of Tiny Expo again, what they cleverly call "Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & crafts fair!" This year it's moved to the popular Kerrytown Shops and we'll be selling our wares on Saturday, Dec. 14th with a fun preview and set up the night before. 

Nick will be selling a new series of toy-themed photos and I've been working on original watercolors of...food! So mark your calendars, bring your eyes and feast on a bevy of new inventory for a whole new season of gift-giving. 

And don't forget  — the week before, Saturday the 7th, we'll be at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair for our first ever pop-up event benefitting all the awesome programming done at 826michigan. Lots of fun and photos and activities will be had by all!

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