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The League of Incompletely Informed Collectors

by Clint Watson on 6/21/2007 9:01:33 AM

A popular art magazine that I enjoy recently trumpeted their role in helping collectors be informed.  They discussed the fact that "every minute counts" when acquiring the latest works from popular artists and tout their magazine and their website's "virtual art walk" as solutions to stay up to the minute.  They say by subscribing to their magazine that you are part of the "League of Informed Collectors."

Now, while I do greatly enjoy reading this particular art magazine, it seems they're trying to position themselves as something that, in this day in age, is not really possible for a print publication. 

A magazine, by definition, cannot provide up to the minute information.  The lead time for advertising in a magazine is two to three months prior to publication.  This means that every single image in the magazine was photographed three months before you see it. 

My experience, as a former national gallery owner, has always been that, when preparing for a show the gallery decides to "run an ad"  and the artist scrambles to provide any suitable image for publication.  However, with three months to go before the magazine hits the stands and three or more months until the exhibit opens, many new works (and usually the best ones) are still forthcoming, and therefore never appear in a magazine.

Ahhh, but what about their so called "virtual art walk?"  A good idea, and perhaps someday it will be something worth discussing, but unfortunately, as of today, it's simply a web copy of the same ads that are in the magazine (an incomplete copy when I visited it this morning).  You might as well just look at the magazine and skip going to the web site to see the same thing.

Now, if you want to join the League of Completely Informed Collectors, here's what I suggest:

By all means continue to take your favorite art magazines - and take several because every gallery does not advertise in every magazine - there are several good ones:  Art of the West, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, and American Art Review are a few of my favorites.  When you see an artist who catches your eye, write down the artist's name and do a Google search.  Bookmark the artist's web site and the galleries who carry that artist.  Now WATCH those web sites directly -- you will know about new work far in advance of those who simply wait for the magazine.  Also, develop a relationship with a few dealers that you "click" with...especially those who seem to have tastes that "jive" with yours.  Ask them to alert you directly when they discover an artist or receive new artwork from those artists you love.  Call galleries directly and tell them you want to be alerted when there are new works by your favorite artists because most galleries have relatively small staffs and the a lot of gallery web sites don't get updated promptly.  You can get them to email you images directly and likely see them before anybody else.

Finally, don't forget that a lot of great artists are not represented by galleries or own their own gallery, a few more notable examples would include Clyde Aspevig, CW Mundy, and Richard Schmidt -- those are three of the best artists working today and might not appear in magazine advertisements as often as gallery-represented artists.

Also, check out my service, FineArtStudioOnline, we currently have more than 1,200 artists and you can see TRULY up to the minute works on our web site.  We have a link that lets visitors view "work added TODAY."

Finally, for those artists who host their sites with FineArtStudioOnline, we offer RSS feeds that are updated instantly every time an artist posts new artwork.  So, if you follow a FASO artist, you can be alerted instantly in your RSS Feed reader, or your favorite search engine custom home page.

I'm all for art magazines and they serve a valuable function in the art world, but, let's admit: it's a big world and to be truly informed "up to the minute" takes a bit more than a once-a-month publication can provide.









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