sábado, 22 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.110

A week before I left Houston, I met a Russian woman, while going out with friends. I don't know why Eastern Europeans like me, but I seem to get along well with them. I take that back, I seem to get along with all sorts of people for no apparent reason, although I have been told that it is easy for others to be themselves around me, which I presume that says I am a rather passive person -- still, I am very opinionated and stubborn. Anyway, so I met this woman and she likes art very much, which is where her Venn diagram and mine intersect. 

We met one day to visit museums and, at her insistence, we went the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, which I don't recall knowing before that.  I have no idea how I did not know about it, since I visited the Menil so often, but when one speaks of chapel in Houston, it is usually in reference to the Rothko Chapel. It could be that I had read about it, but overlooked it. I am also quite strange about things. I don't like to pursue everything; instead, I prefer to leave it to serendipity and let the opportunities present themselves.

At the time, the Fabiola Project was at the Byzantine Fresco Chapel. It is a collection of paintings, crafts, and other objects all with almost the same image based on a lost 19th century painting by Jean-Jacques Henner, which depicts Saint Fabiola, a 4th century Roman saint. Each piece was done individually by people all over the world and at different times. 

The collection belongs to the artist Francis Alÿs, who started it almost 30 years ago, while living in Mexico. As his friends learned about it, they started to help him find other pieces, so by now it is over 450 objects large.

It is such a great pleasure to stand in front of it that I wanted to start my own Fabiola collection. Then, I thought it was silly, as it was not an original idea. It wasn't really me; it was just me trying to be someone else. Still, I did search Etsy for images, but purchased nothing. 

I am not a serious art collector. I only buy things with which I can create an emotional connection. I know this now because on my trip to Art Basel Miami, I met a gallerist who asked me if I was a collector or if I was interested in collecting. The question kind of took me by surprise, as I consider myself mostly curious about art, but not a serious connoisseur. 

Then, as I am also an economist, these types of issues force me to think of art objects through that lens: do I view an art object as a private good, such that I would derive pleasure from owning it and preventing others from doing so or do I view it as a public good, that should be accessible to others and that requires me to have an experience that is also a shared by others? I think the latter is closer to my heart; if fact, after that, I started to contribute monthly to the Brooks Museum, even though I was already a member. I also maintain memberships in several museums in the country.

So that was that. Then this week I realized that I had kind of inadvertently started an art collection of female nudes. The first one was given to me in 1998. It is a poster that a friend of mine brought from Belgium. He used to have it in his place and he and his roommate would give the wildest parties. When he left, he gave it to me and I recently had it framed. 

The second one was a small mixed media on paper that has drawings on both sides. One of the sides really pleases me and I thought it so unique that I bought it. Then came a drawing by Batya Dagan that I found online, followed by another drawing, this one by Jan Gosnell, that I bought on my last trip to Fayetteville, AR. And about two weeks ago, I found an unsigned female nude done in needlework that I bought completely on impulse. A while back, I also got a print of a nude by Teil Duncan.

Now, here's how subversive I am: I want to hang my collection of naked women in the dinning room. I can already hear my real estate agent asking me to take it down, if I ever sell this house. That prospect makes me so happy, even though I really don't want to move again.


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