Thursday, October 8, 2009

American Art Collector: A Review

"There's gold in them thar hills."  Unknown

In October of 2005 a magazine unique to the art world was launched. Published by the same outfit that does International Artist it's aim was to bring collectors and galleries and artists together. The magazine is image rich (appropriate given its purpose), intelligently laid out, generous in its size and a pleasure to browse.

The title of this entry is  misleading; while I'll be blogging about the magazine, this isn't a Review per se. A few weeks ago I began 're-viewing' my copies of American Art Collector  starting at the beginning, Issue #1. There are 48 issues so far, and I'm at #28. Besides being great inspiration and motivation, the magazine is important to me as an artist because it educates me on the Domain of Painting.

Every art has its own domain and part of the education process is learning that domain. The art of science has its domain, business has a domain, soccer and sports have a domain, just about every activity known to man has a domain - including 'Fly Catching with Chopsticks'.  It supposedly takes ten years to (ahem) master the domain. This includes mastery of craft. And there are circles within circles in each domain. It's been said the average age of the Nobel Prize winners in physics has continuously increased because the Domain of Physics is getting so huge it takes more time to master.

Painting has its own domain encompassing pretty much all of Art History, Art Theory and Craft Mastery. I believe a painter should be a student of painting and its history. A painter should be able to recognize a Turner or a Caravaggio. They should know where oil painting originated (Northern Europe) and why Durer went to Italy. A painter should have a grasp on the natural sucession of artists from way, way before Giotto right through to Pollock, Porter, Wyeth and beyond. American Art Collector Magazine is the beyond.

AACM has contemporary realist painters and sculptors - contemporary meaning of our time right now. I think it tries to showcase the best painters and sculptors working today in the realist tradition. There are no conceptual artists, fiber artists, abstract artists, video artists, or any artists of that ilk. In some of the first few issues I noticed a photographer here and there, but that has apparently been discontinued.  After the first year a special section on sculpture was added.

Every month I eagerly await, then slowly savor each issue that arrives in my mailbox.  Galleries take out huge full page and half page adds on upcoming shows.  Various featured artists are interviewed and their work displayed. This mag is not a 'how-to' like American Artist.  This is a glorious display, the best foot forward, a gallery walk and studio tour.  This is a  slice of some of the best  painting in America today.

A Warning: don't expect any deep analysis on the art or artists. I do like the fact that I can check out prices artists are charging for their work, sometimes even comparing prices from previous years.  This info is for the collector to determine appreciation (never depreciation), but it's valuable info for artists too.

Recently the magazine has changed in a subtle way. I've been trying to nail down exactly what changed, but have so far been unsuccessful. Perhaps its a new editor who has shifted emphasis subtly.  I do know there used to be photos of the artist's studios, and that seems to have been dropped. (As an artist I love to see other studios.) Perhaps the quality of the art showcased has dropped. Reviewing issues, as I approach October 2009 I find my self less wowed by the work. Flipping pages I'm thinking "cliche, cliche, derivative, oooo bad" more and more with only the occasional "HOLY SMOKES".

Some Observations :

Joseph Todorovitch preceded Jeremy Lipking in the magazine.

Jeremy Lipking's first painting in AACM was a landscape.

Danny Mccaw has almost disappeared from the magazine after dominating early issues.

I find something distasteful in Chinese painters using Tibetans as subject matter.

John O'Hern is a contributing writer (editor?) to AACM. He was the director of our local Arnot Art Museum until recently. While there he put together an annual show called "Representing Representation". Unfortunately he has since left the area. Fortunately he still writes for American Art Collector.

Tom Buechner has a retrospective at Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia and he's showcased in the October 2009 issue. I'm painting with TB and hope to blog a little about it.

Robert Liberace is rarely mentioned. Wonder why?

In the US the most important galleries for representational painting are located in NYC, Atlanta, Charleston, New England Coastal, Scottsdale AZ, Laguna Beach and LA. OK never mind, that's pretty much a duh? observation.

I'm continuosly flummoxed by the fact that people actually buy still lifes of grapes and fruit and wine bottles and cheese and vegetables and meat....????

Artist Don Huber grows on you. I like him. He's taken out a full-page ad in the mag from, I think, Day One.

Conclusion: If you're an artist painting in a representational manner  - subscribe to this magazine.  If you love representational painting - subscribe.  American Art Collector is NOT like International Artist or American Artist, etc. There is no talk of how to paint, it's simply a glorious celebration of the paintings themselves.  Oh, and by the way, it's monthly.


  1. Hello from your cousin, Janet, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada!!! Love the paintings! How exciting to have an artist in the family. Mike B. just recently sent me the website.

  2. Hey Cuz! Thanks for visiting and for commenting. What a surprise! Can u send me your email address? And Mikes and Kelly's addresses if u have them? Send to


About Me

My photo
Elmira, New York, United States
In many ways I think like a photographer. The image itself is becoming more and more important to me; the actual application of paint less and less. Blasphemy in some painterly circles. I choose to paint figures and portraits because I consider them the most difficult subject.