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Artists as Collectors

The pleasure of collecting is an activity that crosses social and economic divisions. Many people like to collect things as a form of entertainment and personal expression. Artists as
Collectors seeks to illuminate the unique perspective that contemporary artists bring to the pursuit of collecting. The collections featured in this exhibition range from small to expansive—from collections that comprise the artwork, to collections without a direct connection to the artist’s work.

To define the occupation of Contemporary Artist is to describe a vast field of interest, rather than outline specific skills. Contemporary Artists have the freedom to move across and between the boundaries of multiple vocations in order to do their work. For example, an individual artist may develop expertise in fields as divergent as painting, software development and animal taxonomy. The interdisciplinary possibilities of art making can inform the artist’s take on collecting in unexpected ways.

Artwork shown alongside a collection brings to view the many ways in which the creative process informs and relates to an accumulation of objects. Hank Willis Thomas uses his Ebony magazines as source material for his Unbranded series, a body of work that examines mass media depictions of African Americans. The cat figurines belonging to painter Cynthia Ona Innis show how an artist connects the complex ideas of her work with her other less serious interests.

Present throughout this range is an artist’s translation of the everyday world into something more magical.

Carin Adams, Curator