Most Contemporary Art collectors fall within the same demographic; they tend to be white, wealthy, and from related socioeconomic backgrounds. Similar experiences and educations compel them to adopt rather homogenous philosophies, world views, and artistic preferences. Additionally, the majority of art advisors are cultivating the same collections defined by this unconscious compulsion. Over time, this experiential echo chamber leads to identical collections — leaving a segment of important artworks unexplored and unacknowledged by the art market.
If collectors and advisors are truly interested in fostering creativity, they need to compensate for their demographic homogeneity. Research must be diverse, extensive, and inclusive — mediocre research by advisors, specifically, leads to standardized suggestions, which inevitably create simplified identical collections.
President and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson, speaks eloquently about group think: “If everyone agrees, there’s something wrong. We really want to challenge each other, challenge our assumptions, and make sure we’re looking at every conceivable angle, every conceivable idea.”
I believe that we, as art advisors, have the responsibility to help clients break free from uniform collecting norms and to embrace a more dynamic and complex approach to collecting. Building a collection is not simply the act of accumulation — the focus must shift beyond the simple sum of the works and towards a nuanced view.