By Kristin Hoerth
My husband and I just finished taking a cooking class at a local school, and it’s not an experience I’ll repeat any time soon. I learned some useful tips and techniques, but this particular class was overwhelming. In the three-hour session, we prepared what amounted to two full dinners. Participants, instructor, and various assistants darted around the kitchen, and our attention was directed first to the dough being kneaded at one station, then immediately to the sauce being concocted at another. I quickly lost track not only of the recipes but also of the fact that cooking can be fun.
I relate this experience because it reminds me of a similar scenario in the art world: Beginning collectors can easily become overwhelmed as they try to understand everything about art all at once. As newcomers realize how much there is to discover—various art movements, terms, styles, and so on—they sometimes get lost in the process and forget to simply notice what moves them. It’s not just beginners, either; even though I’ve been in the art world for nearly 15 years, I had the same problem recently. I tried to create a list of artists I’m currently interested in collecting and quickly wound up with some 50 names on a legal pad! The sheer length of the list was daunting. So instead I chose a handful whose work spoke most strongly to me that day. I started to enjoy the process again when I focused on a narrow group that I considered the best.
In fact, that’s what we’re bringing you in this month’s issue of Southwest Art as well: a small sampling of the art world that we think is the cream of the crop. We’ve chosen top art annual events for our 12-month Collector’s Preview calendar, top news and notes for “Have an Artful Year!”, and top artists to watch throughout the coming year. Using Southwest Art as your guide, we hope you’ll focus on what most moves you in 2009.
On a related note, we hope you’ll share your views with us in our first-ever Readers’ Choice awards program, which kicks off this month on our website. You’re invited to vote for your favorite art destination in four different categories; the winners you choose will be announced online and featured in our April issue. -January 2009