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    Simon Says: Collect
by Simon Watson
 
     
 
Lane Twitchell
Mythic America or How the West Was One
1998
 
Lane Twitchell
Mythic America or How the West Was One
1998
(detail)
 
So many artists, so little time.
Wondering what artworks by emerging artists the insiders are buying? Curious about what to be looking at right now? Simon Says: Collect is a new monthly series exclusively for Artnet Magazine that asks leading collectors, What emerging artist have you bought recently and why?

Lane Twitchell
When asked about their top pick of recent emerging art acquisitions, intrepid New York-based art collectors Susan and Michael Hort immediately said Lane Twitchell, the 31-year-old Brooklyn-based artist who has recently gained attention for narrative works made of elaborately folded and cut paper. The Horts learned about the artist from the Rema Hort Mann grant program and visited the artist at his studio in P.S.1's Clocktower. There they found a cluttered work space filled with frames and sheets of Plexiglas, with shards of snipped paper covering the floor.

Sitting on an easel was a 4-by-4-foot multicolored cut-paper collage titled Mythic America or How the West Was One. The work, which the Horts acquired, weaves together images of Utah history, ranging from Robert Smithson's 1970 earthwork Spiral Jetty on Great Salt Lake to the historical event 100 years earlier in which Governor Leland Stanford drove a golden spike to commemorate the completion of the Trans Continental Railway. Throughout his works, Twitchell reveals personal aspects of this life -- his Mormon upbringing, his fascination with the American West and his interest in vernacular art forms as well as post-war contemporary art.

For more about Lane Twitchell, visit Deitch Projects (76 Grand Street, New York, N.Y. 10013; 212-343-7300; email@deitch.com), where his work is on view through Oct. 9. Twitchell's work ranges in price from $2,500 to $10,000.

     
 
Benjamin Edwards
Conglomerate
1997
 
Benjamin Edwards
Landscape
1996
 
Benjamin Edwards
Starbucks Seattle: Compression
1998
 
Benjamin Edwards
New York-based collector Norman Dubrow has devoted decades to collecting works on paper exclusively. "My mother taught me to save as much as I could for my retirement, so like a good kid I did exactly that. I invested well and kept to a strict budget. And now that I'm retired I've decided to spend it all on art." And so, with a trained eye and prodigious collecting acumen, Dubrow has focused on collecting paintings -- a subject about which he is passionate. And he's most passionate about his mid-summer purchase of two large 6-by-9-foot paintings by Benjamin Edwards.

Invited to preview Another Country: The Constructed Landscape -- on view this summer in a two-gallery show at Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art and Brent Sikkema -- Dubrow fell for Edwards' meticulously crafted works on first sight. Conglomerate is like Edward Hopper meets Mondrian, a composite of 45 national brand stores -- including Borders, Home Depot, McDonalds, Starbucks and Sunoco -- that have been combined into an image of a single theme-park esthetic super-store, a utopia for euphoric consumerism where you can buy anything and everything.

Works like Conglomerate result from a laborious process that includes on-site research, photographing store interiors and exteriors, the production of multiple drawings (45 for Conglomerate) titled "Experiences" and the assembly of a meticulous overall collage of the drawings that forms the final painting. Never having seen the artist's work before, Dubrow credits his discovery to gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and to the show's curator Augusto Arbizo, who invited him to preview the exhibition the day before it opened.

For more about Benjamin Edwards, visit Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art (730 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10019; 212-445-0444; lrgart@aol.com) or visit his website at www.retopia.com. Prices for Edwards' paintings range from $7,000 to $10,000; "Experience" drawings are $1,800.

     
 
Diana Thater
The Best Animals Are the Flat Animals
1998
 
Diana Thater
The Best Animals Are the Flat Animals
1998
 
Diana Thater
"We're sort of in a third phase of collecting," said Gregory Linn and Clayton Press. "We began in 1980 in Chicago and were collecting one of every well-known Chicago artist. Then in 1984 we met Hudson of Feature Gallery, who introduced us to the conceptual art scene and lots of Metro Pictures artists. We recently gave the Chicago collection to the City of Chicago, and our second phase collection has now been mostly re-sold to afford our current collecting.

"For the past seven years, since returning from England where we lived for several years, we've been focusing on collecting eight artists in depth: Diana Thater, Franz West, Stan Douglas, Jason Rhoades, Kay Rosen, Angela Bulloch, T.J. Wilcox and Zoe Leonard. Living in Europe influenced our decision to collect in depth. When you see a collection with 50 Robert Rymans, you experience an epiphany about what an artist is doing. Every once in a while we buy something else, but we've got a limited art budget and we've found we really enjoy collecting in-depth. And we travel around the world to see the shows of the artists we collect."

This summer Linn and Press purchased a five-monitor work by Diana Thater called The Best Animals Are the Flat Animals. It's the seventh work they've purchased by the artist and it's composed of a four-monitor grid with side views of zebras -- almost suggesting a live Bridget Riley Op Art painting -- with a fifth monitor placed in front that has an animal trainer making a zebra do circus tricks. This "man domesticating nature" work is included in Part II of "The American Century" at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

If the artist is producing interesting work in an engaging way, Linn and Press decide to buy the work and later figure out how to live with it. Their Philadelphia-based collection has forced them to adapt their home to the collection. Says Linn "When you buy video work you're getting a tape … so now we're investing in the technology so that we can live with the works in our home."

For more about Diana Thater, visit David Zwirner (43 Greene St., N.Y. NY 10013; 212/966-9074; dzwirner@davidzwirner.com) or their informative website at www.davidzwirner.com. The Best Animals Are the Flat Animals is an edition of three (one of which is available at $18,000); Thater installation works range in prices up to $40,000.

SIMON WATSON is editor of Simon Says, the monthly guide to contemporary art and experimental performance in New York City, and director of Downtown Arts Projects, the nonprofit organization that produces the annual Downtown Arts Festival.