Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ms. Bell

I recently came across a great profile of an art collector in the Times. Patricia Bell is a senior vice president with Merrill Lynch, but her home offers an incredible view into a contemporary art collection, with works by Chuck Close, Tom Nussbaum, and Yinka Shonibare. Her story reminds me why so many of us fall in love with this maddening addiction known as "collecting art".

From the article:

Ms. Bell is the kind of collector artists dream of.

“When an artwork comes into my home I feel as though I’ve made a connection to the soul of the artist,” said Ms. Bell, who clearly gets it — the struggle, challenge and intellectual rigor that goes into the creation of a work of art.

According to Ms. Bell, “there are lots of different ways to tell history, but art is one of the most interesting ways to keep track of what’s going on.”

She began collecting in 1989 and is largely self-taught in contemporary art and art history, although she has benefited from the advice and knowledge of others.

“Beginners should get out and look, keep an open mind and listen to experts,” Ms. Bell advised, adding that museum docents are a great resource who are often overlooked. “They’re passionate about art and can provide important background and insights into artists and their work, whether you’re just looking or looking with the intention of collecting.”