The Metro Show and Conversations on Collecting

The annual Metro Show took place in NYC this past weekend. Still not sure of its overall identity, the fair hosted more than 35 dealers with a variety of specialties. Objects on view ranged from works of “old master” American outsider art, to Asian ceramics, to whittled walking sticks; each booth was its own microcosm of the art world. A few views (in the form of my less-than-stellar snapshots!):

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American Primitive Gallery’s display, which included stone carving, walking sticks, and works by collector and artist Mike Noland.

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Cavin Morris Gallery showed a range of ceramics, as well as works on paper by self-taught visionary artists.

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Ricco Maresca Gallery included some late works by Martín Ramírez alongside pieces by Bill Traylor.

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Susan Baerwald, of Just Folk Gallery, discussing Bill Traylor, the focus of their booth this year.

The portion of the weekend I was most involved in, however, was the series of lectures and panels that accompanied the art fair. Organized by Randall Morris, of Cavin Morris Gallery, this two-day conference included lectures by scholars, panels of curators, and talks by collectors. I participated in the panel “Life After Venice,” which considered the relevance and benefits of exhibiting works by mainstream and self-taught artists together, alongside fabulous curators Lynne Cooke, Massimiliano Gioni, and Leslie Umberger, and brilliant scholar and dealer Randall Morris. I also gave a lecture about the collection of outsider and vernacular art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Here’s a snapshot of me during my talk (thanks Maria!).

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And one of Randall Morris introducing the event.

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One of my favorite parts of the weekend was listening to John Foster talk about how he became a collector (seen in the above image). He believes that a collection need not be expensive to be important, and that objects of all types–and market values–should live happily together. I was particularly struck by the fact that he sees the world as a constant series of aesthetic explorations. He’s the sort of collector I aim to be, and aim to nurture!