It started me collecting contemporary art.
During my college years I had taken Art 101, and had also seen an exhibit in New York City, at the then Museum of Non-Objective Art, of all Kandinski’s, which opened my eyes to abstract art. In 1946, when I returned home to Cincinnati, The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center was already in existence. I had written Arnold Glimsher, of The Pace Galley in New York, to see if he had any Joseph Albers paintings. He didn’t have any, but sent a sculpture of Claus Oldenberg’s ‘Shirts’ instead. It just say there. I was totally unmoved by it. It was the next movement after abstract expressionism. It was pop art, and it cost $500.
I had also thought of doing some art of my own. At this time The CAC was located in the CAM’s basement. It was there that I saw an exhibit of Jackson Pollack’s huge abstract trip paintings. They were all owned by one man. I then realized I didn’t have to make art, all I had to do was buy it. It was too late to buy abstract expressionism. It was already too expensive. I resolved to buy paintings of the very next movement. I would put up $10,000 go to New York, and buy twenty large canvasses of the very next movement for $500 each. That never happened.
By the time I got to New York, a couple of months later, they were already too expensive. But the CAC was having a pop art show. I asked the then Director for a letter of introduction to the pop artists who were going to be in The CAC show, so I could visit them in their studios. On that trip I bought the beginning of my pop art collection.
In the 40’s and 50’s new movements in art were coming almost every year. I bought art from each movement, identified in part by The CAC, as it came along, while they were still inexpensive. The CAC had started me, and continued to influence me, as I pursued my art collection. Doing so enabled me to identify with what the artists were thinking and feeling. This was important for me, because contemporary artists are the most sensitive to matters of the time in which they live.
By: Alice Weston