Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mark S. Waskow, Collector

In this blog I talk a lot about what I’m making in the studio, and a bit about the galleries and other exhibit spaces that show (and sometimes sell) my work. This time I want to talk about the end-user in this equation – the person who actually trades money for art!

Mark S. Waskow is an art collector on a grand scale. He has bought more than 25 works (both large and small) from me directly and from galleries where my work has been exhibited. He has a HUGE collection that is housed at two residences as well as at four spaces that are exclusively devoted to storing and displaying the collection, which is known (at all its various locations) as the Waskowmium. As you might expect, Mark is a person with a prodigious amount of energy, enthusiasm, and intelligence. He recently moved some of his collection to a new location in Burlington when development pressure drove the rent in two of his spaces too high. He has been working for about two months to relocate and organize the new quarters. I spent one day a few weeks ago helping out, and more recently went back to see the space as it gets closer to completion.

The part of the collection that has settled in the new space is comprised of artist books, works on paper, 3-dimensional work (primarily, but not exclusively, by Vermont artists), material related to the Vermont arts scene, and other art memorabilia. It is a gas and a delight to stroll past the many vitrines and cases, and to check out the work mounted chock-a-block (though purposefully) on the walls. Mark has stories about every single piece.

In addition to art, Mark collects all kinds of paper having to do with art and artists in Vermont – catalogs, invitation postcards, posters, and artist portfolios. He has between 1,000 and 1,200 artist books, almost 3,000 zines, and at least 5,000 art books. This is a tremendous resource for the arts and a wonderful archive that will preserve the memory of Vermont artists and art events in history. He is trying to raise the funds to construct a massive wall of bookshelves to hold some of this printed material, an undertaking that will cost about $10,000. He would be grateful for any donations to help fund this effort. Checks can be sent to the Main Street Museum which is operating as the Waskowmium’s fiscal agent while Mark works on getting his non-profit status, with a notation that it’s for the Waskowmium.

The bookcase above holds notebooks filled with biographical material, press clippings, invoices, resumes, bios, statements, and other relevant information about the artists in his collection. The pile on the top left of the case is a complete archive of clippings of Seven Days art reviews since Waskow began his collection.

Here's where my hefty section starts. It's been a while since I used that logo...

Here you can see some of my work displayed at the Waskowmium -- a steel and red fabric sculpture, a little paper-mache figure trailing the alphabet in its wake, and several altered books on the far wall. I am grateful for Mark Waskow's excitement, sensitivity, and knowledge about the visual arts. I am thankful that Mark has traded his money for my art, but even more than that, his collection honors me and preserves my legacy. And the fact that he cherishes each of these objects and devotes himself to their care makes me, anyway, feel like a bit of a big shot.


Maggie Neale said...

Hurray for those collectors who have a delight in collecting art and in giving support to artists. Would love to see the whole collection.

ohjoyohjoy said...

I love it when people do what they do for the love of the thing itself and even more so when it is harnessed into something lasting. It's a win-win with a ripple effect.

Unknown said...

I was a big fan of the room he set up for the Spa Gala last winter.

Anonymous said...

We need more people like that in this world!! And especially in Vermont.