Collectors are Born, not Made

In Bruce Chatwin’s novel entitled “What Am I Doing Here?", he poses an existential question we should all ask ourselves.  My answer came in Amsterdam in 1992.  I felt that it might not be an accident that we are in a certain place at a certain time.  My déjà vu experiences date back to the swamps of Southeast Texas, the same swamps which inspired and are depicted by contemporary artist John Alexander.  We’re talking East Texas, the culmination of the pine belt which runs from New Jersey to Texas and the last breeding ground of the Ivory Billed woodpecker.

If you pretend you’re a child wandering in those woods, alone, you will learn the difference between nature and the classroom.  For here is the true church which Gothic cathedrals can only imitate and the dramatic landscapes of the unconscious.  Southern folk art is no different because it is bred and spread by the pantheism of the southern pine and African-American spiritualism.  Together with those odd looking bottle trees whipping past car windows and old white share-cropper houses one’ envisions the lurking spirits of post-war reconstruction and the burnt out smell of an attic.

 

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By the 1970s, art collectors and audiences grew tired of the abstract.

People were looking for art that was more... spontaneous, more spiritual.

Then, something happened...