Collect Art: The New Collectors

The New Collectors

Young collectors are making an impact on the contemporary art scene in important ways. Since the 1980s they have been active participants in the market, but the new generation is collecting with particular enthusiasm and sophistication.

In past years young collectors were more likely to see their art as an investment, often reselling pieces quickly. Less concerned with innovation or aesthetics, they tended to go for big names that were sure to turn a profit. Gallery directors have noted a change, however, and say that young collectors seem increasingly interested in purchasing works to keep. They also, with help from the internet, do their research, arriving at galleries and art fairs with more information than ever before. Most interested in artists of their own generation, collectors often start with work by emerging artists or editioned pieces, but aren't afraid to wait around for the really great works, and then shell out the necessary cash.

This young generation is involved in the art scene in other ways as well, particularly through participation in special young collectors' councils. Organized by major museums and art spaces like New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art, the MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney, members give financial support and receive various perks and opportunities, including the ability to help with institutional purchasing decisions. It's a participation that bodes well for the continued growth and sophistication of the contemporary art world.