Irving Blum: About Peter Voulkos and Collecting
One evening this summer at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Irving Blum spoke. Elsa Longhauser, Director of the museum, invited guests to ask Irving questions. Though the Ask Irving event was designed around the exhibit by Andrew Lord, Irving gave a personal statement about his life, his career, the art he admires, and what he collects.
Just a few days before that event, Irving stopped by my gallery to see a show. He’s a frequent visitor, and we talk about artists or his collection. I showed him a 1961 work by Peter Voulkos, and he was amazed. To my surprise, he asked to borrow it—he wanted to have it on stage for the Ask Irving event. Here’s what he said to the audience that night:
“By the way, I walked into Frank Lloyd’s gallery a couple of days ago to visit with him, and I saw this absolutely astonishing pot by Peter Voulkos. Now for me, Picasso is to painting what Voulkos is to the world of ceramic. He’s simply peerless. Absolutely peerless. And I’d like for you—there’s nothing that can really substitute for looking, and I’d like for you, when this is over—to examine the Voulkos pot and to begin to understand my feeling about it. The method of putting a clay collection together is not unlike collecting paintings. You assemble as much data as possible, and ultimately rely on looking and making comparisons. It’s important to have a visual vocabulary that you can rely on. I collect paintings as well as ceramic.”
To see and hear the whole conversation, visit the Santa Monica Museum’s website.