ART ROUNDTABLE: FROM PAGE 24
CB: Well, why is it important? ABR: Art is just such an important part of life. It can be a social commentary; it can be a historical piece.
Contemporary art and what the young artists are doing now is just a statement on what’s happening in the world, like especially the Beautiful Losers exhibition (at the CAC) and a lot of the stuff Matt has (at Country Club). We need to invest in these things. It’s important that the artists can continue their careers.
If you’re buying art from someone you trust and who has a decent reputation, there is a great possibility that you could get a return on your investment. We always tell our young collectors, “Buy one good piece. If you need to pay for it over time, most people will work with you. Buy one good piece, and then maybe next year you can buy another good piece. And then 10 years down the road you might look back and have a significant art collection.” And I think it’s such a personal reflection of who you are. It gives back in so many ways. AVS: Art really is one of the most desirable objects out there. We lose sight of that with the cars and the homes, like Annie said. … People are really uncomfortable buying art. I don’t know why Cincinnati has lost touch (with col lecting).
We don’t have the fever for art the way people do in other places. … Walking into someone’s house is always so interesting to see what they have on the walls, whether it’s pictures of their families or artwork by friends or things that they’ve gone out and actually collected. It really defines who you are. ABR: It becomes a process, too. I have a background in art and was always fascinated with artists. I graduated with a degree in fine art, and I knew I was never going to be an artist. I knew I didn’t have what those other people had. But when I got the job at Closson’s and saw the gallery side of it, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is perfect.”
Many people are afraid of art. They are intimidated by it, so if you can be that intermediary between the artist and the collector (that’s exciting). … It’s fun if you can be the bridge, putting (art) into homes and getting people think ing about this world that we live in.
CB: What advice would you give to new collectors? MD: Speaking very specifically about Cincinnati, there are people like Phyllis (Weston) and Carl (Solway) and maybe to another degree someone like Toni Birckhead 9 who acti vated their generation to buy art. They got people really excited. And if you look back, you’ll see that they’ve built amazing collections for people and made people a lot of money, which is part of what we do. I mean, it’s a business too. I think you do need to do your research as much as anything. So there has to be some kind of passion there and some kind of due diligence. I think (Weston and Solway) did that. And now we have a pretty good gap (in collectors) because (Weston and Solway) are still selling to their own generation to a great degree. And so we have a pretty good gap. And now it’s down to us here, with a few other people probably. I think we need to sell to our gener ation.
And to a certain degree our generation should be buying artists of our generation. I feel like that’s ultimately what’s going to speak to people if they’re starting a collec tion. CB: Or just to be involved in the artworld. Even if it’s just coming by and eating crackers and cheese and appreciat ing the art in a different way, people start to understand that it can be more than just a pretty picture to hang on your wall. MD: I came from more of a curatorial background, so that’s one of the things I’m finding I need to temper a little bit. That dialogue is almost as rewarding as a sale to me. So I better watch that a little bit! We’re not just selling art. We’re helping artists build their careers. When you realize that, it puts you in a totally different mindset.
CB: Oh, Bill’s here! Please introduce yourself to the tape recorder.
Bill Renscheler: I run the Aisle frame shop and a gallery with Krista Gregory. We show people we discover, basically in town or friends that I’ve had from graduate school or just about anybody locally. We just had our one-year anniver sary in September. We change shows about every six weeks.
CB: We’re talking about young galleries and who’s been collecting and who you want to see at your gallery.
BR: Wow. God, you mean think about things?
CB: Tell us why you started your gallery. BR: Because I was sitting on 50 Harvey Osterman photo graphs and had to show them. I went to graduate school with him. I thought he was the world’s best photographer.
Oh, and Krista was walking around (the frame shop) twit ting her thumbs, so she needed to be the director of the gallery. She needed more work to do. All I did was think about it, and when I told Krista she actually did something, so it was pretty cool that way. Collectors, yeah, I don’t know. It seems like we just send out cards. … and I don’t know what the demographic is. It’s a lot of people we know.
CB: I think people have a really hard time understanding how much money galleries need to put on these shows.
ABR: Yeah, I don’t think people realize it. BR: They don’t have to think about it. ABR: But it’s expensive. To stay in business, it’s expensive: the rent, the phone, the lights, framing bills.
BR: That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. I don’t really have to worry about making enough money, because my frame shop generates enough to pay for the heat and the phone and stuff.
ABR: But it’s all expensive. It’s really hard to be successful in the gallery business, but it’s worth it.
AISLE GALLERY is located at 424 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-241-3403.
AVS ART GALLERY is located at 314 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-328-3456.
COUNTRY CLUB is located at 424 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-792-9744.
PHYLLIS WESTON-ANNIE BOLLING GALLERIES is located at 2003 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-321-5200.