Take your time.
Determine what kind of art you want to collect. Impulse buying can be detrimental to your pocket and your collection. Wait until the initial visceral reaction dies down and you’ve gone beyond the hype of a big name or a price tag. This will also be a good time to find out how much you are willing to spend on an artwork.
Best if you can get your hands on the comprehensive documentation of the artists you like. Learn about their creative practice, how their past exhibitions were received, and what their upcoming projects are. Take note of their career momentum. Determine how current events affect the art world or the piece of work you are interested in.
Don’t just attend opening nights.
Art openings are good opportunities to connect with people who may help you further your collection. But it’s advisable to return to the gallery a few days later and view the art again without the crowds--unimpeded by wine and finger food. Attend artist and curator talks.
Discreetly talk to consultants, gallerists, and, if possible, the artists themselves to learn more about the art you’re interested in, the exhibit it’s a part of, and the ways in which one can acquire certain works.
Explore the option of commissioned work.
Resist the urge to dictate what you want. A dialogue between the artist and your consultant (who should know your preferences) will result in commissioned work that will be personal and outlast trends.
Consider the aftermath.
Where will your art hang or be positioned? What environment is it going to be in and how much space are you giving it? Will you be willing to show or lend your works for exhibitions? Plan the budget for the proper maintenance of your art accordingly. This will help you keep your collection pristine and your investment intact in the long run.
This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Vol.5 2012.