Wed, Aug 24, 2011 - Page 15 News List

You too can be an art collector

This year’s Art Taipei presents a series of lectures, film screenings and discussions that underscore the idea that anyone can collect art

By Noah Buchan  /  Staff Reporter

David Chan, Rites of Marriage (2011).

Photo Courtesy of Art Taipei

Collecting art for the love of it is the main theme of this year’s Art Taipei, Taiwan’s largest art fair, which begins on Friday at the Taipei World Trade Center.

Though often viewed as the preserve of the well-to-do, many of today’s art collectors are just average folks. And as the organizers of Art Taipei would have us believe, anyone can be passionate about fine art.

“Art fairs are typically about buying art as an investment,” Eva Lin (林怡華), Art Taipei’s planning director, told the Taipei Times last week. “But the original desire to collect art was because people really loved it and the artists who created it. That’s what we want people to focus on — the desire for art and loving art.”

For the 18th edition of Art Taipei, 124 galleries from around the world will set up in the World Trade Center for four days of buying, selling and schmoozing.

The organizers will hold lectures, discussions and a film screening to underscore the idea that collecting art is not just for the wealthy.

Take American collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel for example. Before retirement he was a postal clerk and she was a librarian. They look and talk like regular folks — until, that is, you ask them about the art collection they have put together over the past four decades.

Dorothy’s salary went to pay the bills. Herbert’s paycheck went to collecting art — a collection that has grown to more than 4,700 objects by Takashi Murakami, Robert Mangold, Joseph Beuys and Roy Lichtenstein, to name but a few of the hundreds of conceptual, minimalist and post-minimalist artists they have collected.

Herb & Dorothy, an award-winning documentary about the couple, will be screened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5pm, followed by a discussion.

Exhibition Notes

What: Art Taipei 2011 (台北國際藝術博覽會)

When: Friday to Monday. Open daily from 11am to 7pm, closes at 6pm on Monday

Where: Taipei World Trade Center Hall 1, Area A and Area D (台北世界貿易中心展覽大樓A, D區), 5, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市信義路五段5號)

Admission: NT$200 (concession price is NT$150)

On the Net: (English and Chinese)

Since 1991, the Vogels have donated 832 works from their collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and another 268 are promised gifts, according to the gallery’s Web site.

“We like the idea of giving works to the National Gallery because they do not deaccession or sell from their collection,” Dorothy Vogel says in the documentary. “We like the idea that [the gallery is] free, that anyone can go in there and also because we both worked for the government. We are giving [the artwork] back to the people of the United States.”

In 2008, the Vogels donated an additional 2,500 works to 50 art institutions throughout the US.

A lecture titled About Herb & Dorothy will be delivered by renowned curator Victoria Lu (陸蓉之) and talk-show host Mickey Huang (黃子佼) on Friday from 2:30pm to 4:30pm, while a conversation with Herb & Dorothy’s director and producer, Megumi Sasaki, will take place on Sunday from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

The lectures, discussions and film screening, free to those who have purchased Art Taipei tickets, illustrate the importance for collectors of developing personal relationships with artists, curators and galleries.

Like the Vogels, Daisuke Miyatsu is an avid art collector. The Japanese salaryman began buying art in 1994 and now has more than 300 objects, including installation, painting and sculpture.

Miyatsu is passionate about gallery openings and art happenings, conceptual art and minimalism. He took a second job to support his obsession for collecting and learned English so he could communicate with international artists, some of whom designed and decorated his dream home, a “work in progress” located in a Tokyo suburb.

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