Identify what kind of art you like. The following techniques can help you determine what that is:
1. Visit 3 to 6 museums displaying different types of art. Finish your visit by purchasing postcards in the gift shop that reflect artworks that are attractive to you. Toss these cards in a bowl, and don't look at them again until you have visited all the museums on your list. Once you have done so, review all the cards and look for similarities among them in terms of mediums chosen, time period of the artists, or the style of the artworks.
2. Visit your local library and find an art history book that spans at least four centuries of art from many different countries. Use sticky notes to mark your favorite pieces. Again, look for common elements to determine what you like the best.
• Match what you like with what you can afford and what is currently available to buy. Consult with knowledgeable art dealers or art appraisers about costs and availability of what you have selected. Determine your annual budget and the number of pieces you want to be able to purchase with that amount.
• Gather information about the quality of what you like, what you can afford, and what is currently available. Consult with museum personnel and knowledgeable art consultants about what they consider to be quality work.
• Join ancillary museum groups that offer lectures and exposure to valuable information.
• Subscribe to magazines that focus on the type of art you want to collect.
• Don’t rush to acquire art. For many, it’s a lifelong pursuit.
Starting a Contemporary Art Collection
Contact museum curators or art professionals in your area who do not sell.
1. Build a relationship with these professionals by attending lectures where they assemble.
2. Discuss your interest in collecting contemporary art and ask for their recommendations.
3. Listen for names being repeatedly identified as quality artists.
• Attend exhibitions at contemporary art galleries in your area. Ask for information about any work that interests you. This will help you understand what the artist intended for his or her work "to say."
• Go to national and international art fairs to gain additional exposure to contemporary art. Ask for information on work that interests you at these events as well.
• Contact prominent local contemporary artists working in a medium you like and ask them to identify their "hot picks."
• Supplement your efforts by reading art publications such as Art in America, Art Forum, and Art News, as well as magazines directed toward just one kind of medium, for example, Fiberarts or types of art for example, Latinarte, Native Peoples and American Indian Art magazines.
• Join ancillary museum groups focused on contemporary art. These events allow you to experience what experienced collectors of contemporary art have chosen. Travel to other cities with these groups to gain an even greater understanding of contemporary art.
• Do MOST of the steps described above before purchasing for your collection.