Art collecting can be time-consuming, complicated and confusing for the beginner...
...but it doesn't have to be.
In this clear and easy-to-follow guide, learn the necessary knowledge and skills to begin building your own art collection.
Art is the purest form of hope, dreams, and sentiments. A single image can reveal long-held secrets, spark the imagination, offer a sense of belonging and home.
Art conveys the words the artist often might not have been able to speak aloud. In, The Black Market: A guide to art collecting, Charles, a long-time art collector and art historian, introduces novice collectors and would be collectors to the art world, its deep roots, its connections to our pasts, and its hopes for our future.
In the first part of the book, you'll discover the history of African American art and will find essays born in the decades between 1900 - 1990; fascinating lecture reviews on books and exhibition catalogs that invite art enthusiasts to explore the culture, the storied lives, the simplicity, and the everyday struggles and triumphs of the African American experience.
Despite a minor in Art History, and I lifelong interest that has kept me reading on the subject in the 20 years since my college graduation, my knowledge of modern American Black art in America is lacking. I'm very glad the opportunity to read Charles Moore's The Black Market arose as it focuses not only on that topic but also on the collection thereof; notable collectors of Black art; various ways in which aspiring collectors can approach acquisition; and the practicalities involved in buying, selling, and owning art.
Moore's book is accessible and I appreciated one of the important messages therein is that art is not for a select few and needn't be confined to the walls of elite institutions or New York City penthouses; art, he reminds his readers, is for everyone and a piece one purchases at a small art fair in Brooklyn, with which one connects, is worth just as much as one auctioned at Southeby's for millions. That the art establishment has, for decades, cheapened Black art by segregating it as "folk art" or "found art," or insisting "street art" isn't art at all rather than simply letting art be art. That it's taken the work not only of artists but of gallery owners and art liaisons, art advisors, and collectors to start bringing down those barriers and it is those groups working together who will continue the work. That any collection, whether they own one piece or ten or one hundred, is taking part in that revolution, especially those who focus on new and emerging artists.
My only critiques are small ones: the first is that the book could have used one more copy editing pass. The other is that I would have liked to see at least a mention of the repatriation debate as regards the collections in some of the larger museums mentioned in The Black Market such as the Met; it seems apropos to the subject at hand and something for collectors to consider when deciding which institutions they might want to lend works to or otherwise support.
Besides those two very minor quibbles, I found Moore's book fascinating and informative. I may have purchased two books he mentioned as good, "Where to learn more," texts and I've already followed several of the artists he mentioned on social media. I'm thinking it might be time to add a few new pieces to my own collection.
Shiri lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, two smaller humans, and two geriatric, leftover-stealing felines. She has been a registered nurse for fifteen years with writing as a side hustle but is ready to embrace the later as a full time challenge. She will probably die buried under her TBR pile.