Friday, December 28, 2012
PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series #2: Deb Bell at Mattress Factory January 9th
In 2011, after 23 years in art sales, Deborah Bell became Vice President Specialist of the Photographs Department at Christie's auction house. Today, she admits, she is “still new to the business.” In the strictest sense, this may be true, but her long engagement with photography is as multifaceted as the medium itself. As a volunteer tour guide at the Walker Art Center during her teens, then as a BFA student, later as a freelance photographer, a printer, a professor, and, finally, as a professional dealer with her own gallery, Bell's scholarship and experience set a high standard.
Deborah Bell will share her insights and expertise as a part of the impressive lineup at the PGH Photo Fair Speaker’s Series. The evening will discuss market trends, the differences between running her own gallery and managing a full department at a major auction house, and the work she’s been doing to consolidate Christie’s tremendous reputation for “single-owner sales.” These sales consist of works drawn exclusively from a single collection. As more important early collections from the 1970s and 80s appear on the market, Bell explains, her department becomes more sensitive to their peculiarities. Unlike the “various owner” sales that feature objects from various consignors, single-owner sales often take fascinating biographical or aesthetic shapes, reflecting the character of the collector in surprising ways. Beyond the obvious appeal to collectors of photography, this talk will interest pretty much anyone who has an interest in the medium. But photography is not the sole topic of interest here. Anyone who has a passion for contemporary art and the role of the major auction houses in that market will be curious to hear what Ms Bell has to say.
This is the second talk of the ongoing PGH Photo Fair Speakers Series. The first was delivered earlier this December by the curator and author Marvin Heiferman to a jam-packed Carnegie Museum apartment space in Lawrenceville. Following the format of this earlier event, Bell’s presentation will include a conversation with me followed by audience questions.
January 9, 2013
Mattress Factory Lobby
6:30, talk starts at 7:00, finish around 8:00
500 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(guest contributing writer, Alexandra Oliver)