Understanding Art

Art collectors

I watched Herb & Dorothy this weekend. I began the film fully expecting and excited to learn how to collect art on a small budget. What I learned instead, was a deeper understanding on how to appreciate and communicate with art.

I am not well-educated when it comes to art. I have taken a few classes (which I loved), frequent art museums on occasion (which I enjoy), appreciate art that elicits a strong reaction in me (either for or against), but the finer aspects of art escape me. This is not due to a lack of interest; rather I prefer to just let the art speak to me rather than be buried in another’s, sometimes forced and insincere, opinions.

How surprising, then, to discover that neither Herb nor Dorothy were particularly educated in regards to art either…at least at first. And while they both eventually took classes, it is their process of collection that inspires me. They admit that they don’t often understand the art that they purchase. Upon seeing some of the pieces (to be frank, most of the pieces) that they purchased, that statement isn’t at all surprising to me. However, they spent the time getting to know the artists. Every day after work they’d visit an artist’s studio and talk about his/her art and how he/she was creating it. They were particularly interested in all of the bits leading up to and away from the piece(s) they eventually purchased. As time passed, they became quite good friends with the artists and would even set up regular phone dates to chat with them…even if the artists moved away from New York City, where they live.

This astonished me. Here are two people who began with absolutely no background in art or credentials to judge art, and yet they spent all their time trying to understand it; relate to it; communicate with it. I found this to be phenomenal and realized that there is very little in my life to which I devote such attention and dedication and I wondered what my life would be like if I were to spend even a fraction of that energy on something of interest…such as communicating.

Addendum: I wrote this several months ago, but for some reason I never posted it. I’m so excited that I’m starting to tap into this passion in my life and have actually put effort into the things I care about…including communication. Once again, intentions matter!

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