Monday, April 15, 2013

David Howe shows a personal path to collecting

In our 5th installment of the PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series (and our 2nd in the intimate theater of the Warhol Museum), David Howe was expansive and personal in his description of his career as a collector and artist. The "aha" moment for me was David's explanation that he is often attracted to art that he wishes he had made himself. Of all of the the collectors I've heard discuss the idea of why they choose what they choose to buy, I've never heard this longing-filled perspective. I also liked his account of how his collection exists in perfection only in his mind's eye. I think that's an important point. How the collector visualizes his collection as a totality in a mental image is an important concept both about what drives the collector and how a collection exists in the world. David was soft spoken (yes, we will have mics for the next event), but his voice was large in illuminating the psyche of an important collector.

Next up, we have photo conservationists Nora Kennedy and Peter Mustardo. It cannot be overstated, these two are at the very, very top of their field. Nora is the chief photo conservator at the Met Museum and Peter runs The Better Image which is one of the top 3 or 4 conservation firms in the world. At any given time, his shop is occupied with masterpieces from major museums and collections. Sorry to say, some of David Howe's collection was damaged in Hurricane Sandy. Unsurprisingly, the damaged work that can be saved is at The Better Image.

While conservation may seem like an arcane, "insider baseball" topic, it's not. I have heard these guys speak about their field many times. Trust me, it's fascinating. Plus, anyone who is interested in making, owning, or showing photography should also know how to take care of the work in their possession.

It promises to be a great evening and the closing event of the PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series' first year. Come support our final event and hear the latest updates about the opening of the PGH Photo Fair just a short week later. The 6th PGH Photo Fair Speaker event will be in the lecture hall of the Carnegie Museum. More details on the PGH Photo Fair website

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