In my (Andrew's) daily meanderings on the web, I encountered a Detroit-related blog that profiled The Butcher's Daughter Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Detroit. I know what you're thinking...Detroit? It's financially depressed...who's buying art? Is the art made from unsold car parts?
Okay, sure, maybe Detroit has suffered more than many other major cities in the current economy, but there is plenty of art and plenty of culture...and plenty of collectors. At Garth's, we get a healthy amount of consignments from the Detroit metro area, including some fantastic stuff (such as the Randau Collection that we sold last Thanksgiving). Let's remember, legendary dealer Jess Pavey had his shop in Birmingham, just outside of Detroit.
So, Monica Bowman (MA from Georgetown and she completed the Sotheby's Institute) decided to open a contemporary art gallery in Detroit. And she seems to be doing well. And we're pleased as punch.
Perhaps what I like best about her gallery (which, I should point out, I have not visited...yet), is her philosophy and her attitude. She caters to collectors at all levels (art from $50-$5,000, in her words, "Not all art speaks to all people, but sensible prices do"). She has a young collector program that allows newbies to pay over time for purchases. And she values value, she doesn't sell commodities, she sells art that enriches your life.
What really struck me is that she views art as an investment, not a financial one, but rather an investment in yourself and in your community. And on her blog, she goes further, "You buy art to become a better person, not a richer one."
We need more of this attitude in the antiques and art marketplace. Collectors who are collecting things they love and things they can live with, and dealers who seek out lovers of antiques and art and help them fill their homes with collections they can live with. Let's return to the days when you heard "oos" and "aahhhs" at auctions and shows, rather than "ka-ching!"