I'm a big fan and semi-regular visitor of the Lawrimore Project and Western Bridge. Some of the most creative and thought-provoking pieces I've seen in Seattle have been in those spaces. However, I am merely a spectator and in no position to purchase. I've often wondered of either space makes ends meet.
As a long-time collector of art -- some local, but mostly international -- I have a point of view here. And that point of view is one that is fixated on pricing.

For every Mary Boone, for every Jeff Deitch, for every Guido Baudach -- all groundbreaking gallerists -- there are hundreds of local galleries trying their best to present the best of their homegrown artists. All well and good.

But too many of these local culture outposts are trying to -- I don't know how else to say it -- live beyond their markets. Frustrating is the count of times I've seen a work of art at Lawrimore and other galleries that I would consider buying, only to be confronted by a price tag that leaves me amazed by its audacity. The art -- interesting and competent -- is still not worth the New York and LA and Berlin prices sought.

I collect with my own eye, with my own subjective biases, passions and insights. So I am confident that, if I had the counsel of local experts like Jen and a select few others, I would be able to find the best local art at prices commensurate to their importance and innovation. Alas, I do not have that service and so am left to search the local art scene on my own recognizance -- far too often wondering upon which planet some of these artists and their representatives are living.
That last sentence in my post should read: "I've often wondered HOW either space makes ends meet."
@1 and 3-- They don't.
Virtually every show at L.P. (or any other gallery in Seattle) routinely has work for under $1,000, often in the $250-500 range. If it's not posted on the wall tags, just ask. They'll find something that fits your budget and many offer payment plans that allow you to buy work over time.
@2 The feedback is priceless, though I hope when you wish for a counsel of "local experts" you take the time to assemble a wide range of opinions and understand their motivations. Stick with your gut.

I'd be interested in hearing more as well and wish there was more transparency on both sides. Collectors seem like a mysterious, unpredictable entity. Locally there is such a small handful of big spenders that they are probably mercilessly solicited in that subtle passive/aggressive way.

This approach by SL and GK means that coyness is dead and everyone is going to benefit because this will inevitably make the pool of new collectors bigger and more thoughtful, as well as redefine what a collector is anyway.

Unfortunately it seems like in this economy art is supported and sold via guilt more than ego. Prices are lower, right?
Scott has a world class stable of artists. Really. As good as anything in New York, LA or Berlin. @2: You don't sound like a collector; you sound like a bargain basement shopper, or an artist trying to pose as a collector. Middle class, first generation college graduates are the only people who cry about prices. Just stop it.

Scott also has something many consignment-shopkeepers, I mean gallerists, don't have. And that is a point of view. He does video and installation art, and he does it well. The truth is that Lawrimore may actually be too big for Seattle. He has found something unique about the region that the region may not be able to support. These artists are going national. Don’t be stupid. Buy now.
I'm wondering if the problem is that cultured seattle area people with lots of disposable income are not inclined to spend money on cutting edge art gallery pieces unlike the cultured wealthy in more cosmopolitan cities like NY, LA, or Berlin.
Disposable Income, Cutting Edge, and Cultured Wealthy are Coed terms.
I still have no idea why collectors in Seattle are reluctant to create a niche collection - one that is a sampling of the contemporary art that has been exhibited in that city since the early 90s, when stock options began to bubble and people realized that they indeed had wealth.

@2 Massive Attack reads like a hoax, since I would guess that no collector is that ignorant. On the other hand, I can't be so sure given the fact that it's been known that collectors in Seattle fly to other cities to buy their work. I guess that validates their purchase, despite the fact that they can't flip these pieces for quite some time?

What Massive Attack does not realize is that buying as a collector is about buying art that one likes, not for any kind of payoff. The mention of Jeffrey Deitch and Mary Boone are a strong indication that you look at art only for its investment, but that's not what contemporary art is. I am wondering if Massive Attack attended the recent talk that Jeffrey Deitch gave at APEX Art in NY: HE SAID THAT NOW IS THE TIME FOR ART COMMUNITIES IN SMALL CITIES TO BLOSSOM. "NO ONE NEEDS TO KEEP COMING TO NEW YORK."

Enough said. As I sit here in my Brooklyn apartment, I look at a photograph that I purchased at Linda Cannon's gallery in 1997. It's a treasure that I'll never sell.

Jill Conner
What seems weird to ME, an average Joe who thinks that "real" art is way, WAYYYYY to expensive for me to EVER consider buying, is the infighting between collectors on here. They seem to be criticizing each other for not collecting "right."

I think what turns most people off of participating and spending money on art, is the pretension of the local art crowd. No way am I going to spend $500 to "collect" an art piece and then be criticized and belittle by arrogant, affluent, Seattlites. It's serious business, dontchaknow, and if you can't run with the big dogs, go take a hike.
@5 -- I realize he has less expensive pieces. Unfortunately, affordable does not equal attractive to me. I'm sure it does for others, perhaps more driven by price, and good for them. There is no one "right" way or reason to buy art.

@8 -- No tears here, I assure you. And my mistake if I conveyed a sense of being driven by price. I'll pay five figures for a work of art (low five figures!) or $25 for a piece of art -- I have several examples of both within view as I type this. My complaint was that the quality of most of -- not all -- the local art I see is not commensurate to the prices asked. Others will disagree and, again, more power to them.

@11 -- Dear, dear Jill...there isn't a piece in my collection that I ever plan to sell, though when I was worried about being laid off last year, the Koons was looking pretty much like a goner. Luckily, it's still here and it makes me smile every day. Koons and some of the other artists I have collected had the good fortune of being heavily marketed (which doesn't mean they are great artists, only that I was able to see them more easily, liked them, and bought them). I am sure there are very good artists out there who have no marketing muscle behind them at all but the sad fact is I will probably never see them. But then again, I'm clearly so ignorant that I wouldn't notice them if you were to throw them at me from your fortress of certitude.

@12 -- I agree with the core of your comment: arrogance and snottiness among collectors is such a turn-off. It's much the same with wine -- in fact, any symbol of aspirational wealth seems to attract the worst of the worst in terms of snobbery. It's actually one reason I like Seattle as a home base because you don't run into a bunch of pretentious asses as parties and openings -- just a bunch of Cornish students who can't afford to buy anything.
Look at Roy Neuberger, for example, who was born in 1903. When he worked as a financier in Wall Street, he began collecting art by abstract artists way before Abstract Expressionism had monetary value. He had an eye and liked what he saw. Now his collection can be viewed at the Neuberger Museum, located on the campus of SUNY-Purchase. Ruy Neuberger recently awarded contemporary performance artist Tania Bruguera for her work and gave her a retrospective at the Neuberger Museum. Students studying performance art at the campus participated in the re-performances of Bruguera's work.

Now why doesn't a Seattle collector have that kind of ambition? Roy Neuberger has a Mark Tobey, a Northwest artist. So, what's it going to take for Seattle to step forward?

And by the way, the Behnke family business Sur La Table, from Seattle, has been offering some great deals at its store on Spring Street, in NYC.
@14 -- My god...I'm totally ignorant and I have a Mark Tobey. How did THAT happen???
@Massive Attack: You may not be ignorant, but you made yourself sound ignorant for sure. The idea that local galleries are trying to "live beyond their markets" indicates that you don't know one key fact about these local artists whose works are so overpriced that they can't compete with your Koons (that's who you trot out to prove conviction? Sorry, but...irony).

Artists who show in Seattle galleries DO NOT ONLY show in Seattle galleries. Their prices, often, are actually set by a market centralized in NY, LA, Chicago, or Europe. Let's say you want to feel that something by Alex Schweder is, as you say, "interesting and competent." Okay, but Alex just had a show in New York. He also just showed in Berlin. And at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Do you think Scott Lawrimore can offer his work down on Airport Way for whatever Scott Lawrimore wants to ask?? That's not how it works.

Meanwhile, by dropping five figures on artists who are already validated by the market—um, Koons—you support this same centralized market that you shun Seattle dealers for trying to "mimic," when the fact is, Seattle is PART of this centralized market.

And when Seattle dealers show prints or smaller works for lower prices, that is their way of trying to correct for this problem on behalf of the local collector—because, believe it or not, being a gallery owner in Seattle is not something you do for the money. There's just not that much money actually in it. You do it because you believe in the artists, and because you want to get the artists out there: Both out THERE and out HERE.
Dear Massive Attack,
Unless you are very old, you bought your Mark Tobey, after he had become a famous artist. Scott's missive is a plea to support his gallery which gives many artists, many of who are young, up & coming artists who might not currently be considered "collectable" by the art investment community, which it seems you may be a member of. Buying art for it's potential future value is pretty much the same a buying stock, except you get to look at it every day and much like buying stock in a start up, sometimes your investment goes up, but most likely it doesn't. Buying art because you have a passion for the arts and realize the value of having a thriving creative community, can sometimes align with buying art for it's potential investment value, but this seems to be a happy accident and not a real investment strategy. I applaud you on your owning a Tobey, now please go buy something from a local, living artist.

@16 -- Well, I did have a bit of a smirk on my face when I typed K-O-O-N-S...

You make an interesting point about artists who are exhibited globally, or even nationally/super-regionally, and I take it. In my comments I was addressing artists who were local in the sense of both residence and visibility and that left out the important sector you mention.

But Jen, really...can I have a different point of view without being "ignorant?" I've dedicated so many happy hours of my life learning about art, meeting and befriending artists and gallerists, studying the market, ensuring art holds paramount importance in my simply having a different point of view than you did all that work simply add up to "ignorant?"
@17 -- For your benefit, I just walked around the house and did a quick tally of local, living artists whose work I have collected...some examples include: Bwana Spoons; Jim Blanchard; Leiv Fagerang; Jere Smith; Malcolm Smith; Charles Krafft; Donna Stack; Jason Lutes; Jay Humphreys & Julie Manoogian. For starters.

And again -- just for you -- NONE of what I buy is for resale.
Then why would you say something that sigificantly devalues part of your collection? It doesn't make any sense unless you felt you were doing a service for the artists mentioned.
@20 -- I'm not following you, sorry. And you were pretty vituperative earlier so, frankly, I'm not really that interested in ensuring you're clear on anything I have to say. Sorry.

But one thing's for sure, the issue of "value" keeps coming up after I keep repeating that I could care less what appreciation/depreciation attends to the pieces I own. If anyone's all wrapped around the axle of price/value/price-tag-as-penis-size it sure isn't me...
Scott Lawrimore is a fuck who has ripped off multiple local artists. btw
This forum is too small to go into the multiple layers of art patronage and connoisseurship.

Granted, my use of caps was strong because I'm still fed up with this kind of ignorance in Seattle. It seems to exist in perpetuity out there, despite the hedge-fund art boom and despite the information age. The last point being a strong irony.

In addition as a collector, you dropped names like Deitch and Boone, but you have not been following them closely - or you would not have made that remark from the start. My point of reference being the talk that Deitch gave at Apex a few weeks ago. If you are so influenced by Deitch, why not use this time to become a strong supporter of the local arts scene? Deitch said that's where the emphasis will be going: not NYC. Here is a link to the talk, provided by Bad at Sports:…

But the issue is: Scott Lawrimore's space needs collectors, as I'm sure other galleries do too. Scott shows exceptionally compelling work by artists who have built up significant value from having exhibited in other cosmopolitan areas. Now is not the time for local collectors to turn away from their own community. It's sad, but this has happened in Seattle many many times before. Who's going to stop it? You could be the first.
Lawrimore Project: Best Gallery in Seattle.
@1 and 4 Western Bridge is a non-profit gallery that features work drawn from the True Collection and newly commissioned works. It is the most financially stable gallery in the city.
thanks for the clarification., allofthemidiots.
There sure are alot of folks on here doing alot of ruminating, quibbling and posturing
about prices and how ignorant or non-ignorant you all are about collecting.Asthe spouse of a local Seattle artist, it's sad to see this discourse, when the
only artists you all can mention are names you hope people will recognize. And the scrambling
to validate the gallerists in this city, who, in many cases, will overlook a Seattle artist to snag a big name or upcoming European or out of state artist. What about Chris Crites? Juan Alonso? Warren Dykeman? Kimberly Trowbridge? As collectors, do you demand local work, beyond the recognizable well-knowns, to be shown and made available? As critics, do you ask the gallerists on whom you shower your praise if they truly go out of their way to prop the bank of local artists here in their own city? Experiencing the struggle some of these highly relevant and local artists face firsthand tells me that if you have, you're not speaking loud enough, or demanding insistently enough. And @22, even though crudely put, your comment has truth. Perhaps closing his gallery for a while might be a good opportunity for Mr. Lawrimore to take a break and rebuild some trust and relationships with local Seattle artists. It's a long time coming on his part. Thank you.
Does anybody know when exactly the Lawrimore lease is up?
I don't agree that dealers aren't in it for the money... Sure, they are passionate about their tastes, but dealers are a business and the purpose of a business is to make money. I came to Seattle many years ago because it had a reputation for having an amazing community of artists. That is the still the best thing Seattle has going for it. There aren't enough galleries or collectors. There is some great work being made but a LOT of not so fresh work too. It's depressing. I believe the most important factor is that many people in Seattle have the financial means to collect art, but simply have other priorities, tastes and interests-- that can be changed.

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