would have probably attained more knowledge, seeking guidance from museum professionals earlier and more often.” Horseman advises art lovers to buy carefully, determining a budget and buying accordingly. However, he then admits that it is the “pathology” of the collector to occasionally deviate from the budget under special circumstances, quoting a dealer who said that if a buyer doesn’t occasionally experience financial distress, they aren’t truly collecting.
small factor. The reward of collecting is in the time spent pursuing, viewing, and studying art; the collector’s ultimate gain is extraordinary access to the past and insight to the future. Priceless.
Thinking of art as a glamorous yet stable investment, I proposed that if an investor sought to flip an asset, purchasing art might be a wise move. “That would be foolish,” he counters. “Investment has to be completely secondary to the love of art and the love of collecting. Anyone who will tell you that you can g o out and invest in art, purely from an investment perspective, is a charlatan.” Horseman is emphatic that the reward of collecting lies in the story artwork tells. As an example he draws my attention to his Thomas Hart Benton study and notes: “that was so controversial in its day that it was nearly shouted out of an exhibition in Chicago because it had the audacity to show an African American couple holding hands, in love, in the 1930s.” Art, Horseman said, “is a way of expressing feelings and thoughts on what’s going on. Art is to challenge. It is real people making real responses to current events.” “Without a knowledge of history,” he said, “there is no chance of understanding the present or knowing how to anticipate the future.” Therein lies art’s value. In assessing the cost of loving art, money becomes a
Roger Medearis, The Farmer Takes a Wife, (courtesy of the John and Susan Horseman Collection of American Art)
PAINTER PAYING IT FORWARD JENNA BAUER AND THE DELAYED COMPENSATION OF ARTS BY
“I’ve always wanted to preach what I practice,” says Jenna Bauer in the café at the downtown Public Library. “Which is why I’ve always tried to be confident talking about myself as a teacher. But it’s also about the balance of being appreciated as a painter and not pigeon-holed as a teacher.” Bauer is a painter, a recognized one at that, with frequent exhibitions in St. Louis, gallery representation in the Hudson Valley, and a growing regional and national audience. And as an artist, an important part of her practice extends to the art of teaching others. Whether as founder of SCOSaG (South City Open Studio and Gallery, currently ArtScope) following her BFA from Webster, or through Colorbridge, her most recent project dedicated to lessons in “the art of MAKING art,” Bauer sees teaching as “a canvas of its own.”
Jenna Bauer with student (image courtesy of Jenna Bauer)
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“When I’m teaching, I get in a zone, similar to swinging on the monkey bars: rung-to-rung in a linear way, but smoothly sailing across all the playground equipment if that is what it takes. It is very different than being in the zone of making a painting, but is still such an exciting place to be.”
Launched in 2014, Colorbridge offers personalized, affordable lessons for groups and individuals of all ages, following the credo, “Familiarity and fluency with concepts of art create the foundation for confidence, communication, problem solving, and expression.” As a term, “Colorbridge” alludes to the classic Pantone palette guide, but also to the way in which art can serve to unite people across diverse identities and backgrounds. Bauer is passionate about this vision, and how it has shaped her practice for over a decade. “What I love is the delayed and (non-monetary) compensation of hearing about how a former student is doing, how their interaction with an artist or teacher or environment has changed their life,” she says. “Artist Khalil Irving, for example, is now back at Wash U, doing great things. Years ago there were times he was riding his bike from the Tower Grove South area all the way to the Potter’s Workshop in Forest Park Southeast to take classes. Knowing that he is alive and well and powerful and positive and talented makes the challenges of operating a not-for-profit [SCOSaG] all worth it.” The postcard Bauer designed for Colorbridge features the image of a “bridge” arranged out of multicolored chalk—chalk that the artist discovered in her grandfather’s basement after returning to St. Louis following six years in New York. The chalk, still functional, is fifty years old—reminding one, at the material level, of the potential for the past in the hands of posterity, a delayed compensation from the end of a stick of orange or sky blue.