The Exhibition – Collect Wisely. Sean Kelly Gallery

The Exhibition – Collect Wisely, is a virtual presentation. Like the Collect Wisely podcast, the exhibition exists outside the aegis of the gallery and the artists it represents. Instead, it is centered around artworks from the collections of our podcast participants, among them Marieluise Hessel Artzt, J. Tomilson Hill, Rodney Miller, Howard Rachofsky, Gary Yeh, and Tiffany Zabludowicz. The online exhibition includes images of work selected by each collector accompanied by comments explaining their choices.

Collect Wisely is a provocative media campaign launched by the gallery on May 2, 2018, designed to encourage lively conversation around topics of collecting and connoisseurship. It is a call to action, a far-reaching initiative bringing together individuals, institutions, and galleries interested in building a vital community as well as inspiring future generations to focus on a wide-ranging and meaningful investment in culture.

A cornerstone of this initiative is the Collect Wisely podcast, a series of interviews in which Sean Kelly discusses with collectors their passion for art, artists, and the core values of why they collect. Twenty-one episodes have been recorded to date, touching upon topics ranging from what it means to be a collector today; how that has changed over time; and where the future of collecting is headed, to what it means to live with and think about objects deeply and critically?

Two years on, the world as we once knew it has shifted irrevocably; the future uncertain. The good news is that the world—and by extension, the art world—will survive the COVID-19 pandemic. In this interregnum, we have paused to reflect and think more intently about not just what we value, but our own core values. With galleries, museums, cultural, performing, and visual arts institutions shuttered, we believe strongly that art will continue to inspire and sustain us, perhaps now more than ever.

To reflect upon and explore this conviction more widely, we have turned to the collectors featured in the podcast and asked them how recent conditions have affected their current thinking about art. Considering the extraordinary circumstances in which we now find ourselves, it seems that the moment for such an exhibition could not be more propitious. We hope it will provide encouragement and inspiration for the entire art world community.

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