Art buying and collecting is as much a science as an art and as much personal as strategy-based. If you are collecting art works for aesthetic and decorative purposes and are not interested in edgy, contemporary art, this is not the place for you. But if you’re serious about art, I can help you search and find art that you will love and enjoy for the years to come.
In April 2016, I made a presentation to the Pakistan Club at the University of Chicago, that comprises alumni of the Booth School of Business. Rizwan Kadir who heads the Club had graciously invited me.
After a detailed survey of international art buying practices and the particularly complex vicissitudes of Pakistani art buying, I reminded the audience that after all is said and done art is a subjective discipline and is therefore arbitrary. I endeavored to advise people to listen to the experts, but eventually follow their heart. It is this subjectivity in fact that makes art collecting so exacting yet gloriously gratifying.
Look at the artists who are making art in Pakistan and find the ones who tug at your heart. See what they say about their own art or what critics are saying, without being judgmental yourself. The informed critics will always find something important in the artist’s practice that you will not have noticed. But look out for critics who praise every artist they write about. We critics are a beleaguered lot!
I have created a list of Pakistani artists who I believe are making interesting art that combines a cerebral quality with an aesthetic one and issues from a thematic framework that the artist himself/herself identifies with closely. This list (see Artists’ Directory) is by no means an end-all or be-all of good art in Pakistan. It is however, ‘my’ list and you may have reservations about these artists’ works. That’s perfectly fine. I encourage you to make your own and follow the artists you have an affinity to. My list is quite organic and may see additions and deletions — like bacteria with and without antibiotics.
Again, a reminder that this is a completely personal and arbitrary rostrum of names. Being an unapologetic purist, I have not included photographers and ceramists but that does not imply in any way that those artists are not achieving milestones and/or that they don’t deserve similar attention and accolade.
More to come, so look out for this spot if you’re a collector, potential buyer or art aficionado.