Over the past decade or so we have acquired – through purchases, trades or gifts – at least a hundred individual art works, perhaps considerably more. Almost by accident, certainly not by design, we have become art collectors. When Jose Martos invited us to present works from our collection at Shoot The Lobster we immediately agreed. The exhibition comprises only a small percentage of the works we own and is far from representative. However the works are, as you will notice, mostly small. Their scale tells you as much about the history of our disposable income as it does about the realities of living in one-bedroom apartments in New York. The show’s title - ‘Why Is Everything The Same?’ - is taken from a piece by Allen Ruppersberg that we bought from a White Columns’ benefit auction. A lot of Al’s work deals with collecting and with collecting couples in particular. We have rarely, if ever, discussed what we plan to buy: the decisions have mostly been impulsive.
We often acquire things independently of one another. What does our collection say about us? It is hard to say, but we certainly own a lot of works that are portraits of one kind or another and a lot of works that might be thought of as folk-like or outsider-ish. (We probably own twenty works made by artists associated with the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, and we encourage you to do the same: www.creativegrowth.org). Owning art is both a privilege and a responsibility. We are currently in the process of cataloging the works that we own – as in many instances we don’t know the title, date or specific medium of a particular work, hence the lack of detailed information in the show’s checklist.
We would like to thank Jose and the team at Shoot The Lobster for the invitation to make this exhibition. We would also like to thank all of the artists in our collection (including those whose work isn’t presented here).The opportunity to show a part of our collection is an opportunity for us to share some of our enthusiasms and also an occasion for us to take stock of what our ‘collection’ looks like and to think about where it might go next. Most of all though our collection is a work-in-progress, an ongoing record of the conversations we’ve had with each other and with the artists whose work we love.
Anne Collier and Matthew Higgs, May 2013.