Art Appreciation Panel: How to Start an Art Collection

Five Boston art experts were on campus last Monday to kick off the Art Appreciation Club’s organization of “Art Week.” Speakers on the panel included representatives from many different organizations that make up Boston’s dynamic art scene. Each speaker introduced him or herself and provided thoughts on how young business students, such as ourselves, can become more involved and feel more comfortable with the arts.

Joseph Carroll from the Bernard Toale Gallery opened the discussion by describing the space in which he works: a gallery exhibiting many different styles of art ranging from performance pieces and video to sculptures and paintings. Due to the relatively low rent in the area where his gallery is located (450 Harrison St.) he excitedly talked about risks he takes to push the local Boston artists he represents into the public eye.

Charlotte Mikk, director of membership at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, positioned herself as a liaison for young patrons interested in getting involved in the arts both as collectors and philanthropists. Her role is to provide inside access, insight and advice to members of the gallery who are contemplating purchases. Not many people usually associate this kind of service with large art galleries, so it was interesting to know this resource is available.

Fogg Curator of American Art Theodore Stebbins was practical in his comments. As an accomplished and highly respected expert on American Art, he convincingly talked about the importance of connecting and responding to a piece that you are interested in buying. Similar to Mikk, Stebbins works with many collectors as an advisor. He became very animated when talking about a special area of interest – detecting forgeries – revealing that a great deal of mystery and intrigue really exists in the industry.

Art Professor and Guggenheim Fellow Jessie Lebaron was perhaps the most endearing speaker. Segueing from Stebbins’ instructions on selecting a work, she encouraged the audience to think about art from a purely personal and emotional standpoint. She used words such as “intuition,” “awareness” and “uniqueness” to describe the process of looking at pieces you consider for purchase. Perhaps more than the other speakers, she urged attendees to think about art as an individual and let your gut be a guide in developing a personal taste and style of collecting that suits you.

And finally there was Dushko Petrovich, a graduate student at Boston University’s School of Visual Arts. With paint still on his hands from the studio, he talked passionately about art from the perspective of the creator, touching on the importance of fostering the trust, integrity and respect artists deserve. Petrovich’s work will be exhibited at Boston University (808 Commonwealth Ave.). The show’s opening night is April 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and I highly recommend attending!

When asked the pros and cons of each channel, participants were candid about their experience and advice, often disagreeing with one another. It was a brilliant example of how the art world attracts and fascinates different people from different backgrounds who are involved in various stages of the art market. Amazingly, among the heated debate one clear commonality emerged: an undeniable passion for art.

Other Art Week events on campus included the HBS Art Show, HBS Classical Performance and First Friday at the MFA.all this and a Christo and Jeanne Claude case. I dare anyone to imply that HBS is lacking in artistic energy!