On Friday evening Tucson Museum of Arts hosted the opening of Thanks for Being with Us: Contemporary Art from the Douglas Nielsen Collection. I was there to celebrate the occasion, and to congratulate Doug Nielsen, a University of Arizona dance professor who owns two of my paintings.
In this exhibition I am showing Hands, a 2004 acrylic-on-canvas painting that represents the beginning of the end of my early neo-pop art style. Overall, 75 artists are in this show, which will be on view at Tucson Museum of art through October 10, 2010.
To be showing my work among legends of contemporary art — John Baldessari, Annie Leibovitz, Raymond Pettybon, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol — was a remarkable feeling. To see one of my paintings in the same catalog as these artists was an utterly amazing, as well.
As I left the museum, I felt as if I had turned a corner in my life as an artist. I felt as if I had made it. I could “hang with the gang,” so to speak. A torch-bearing angry mob, chanting “Take it down!” never appeared next to my painting.
I am proud to call Nielsen one of my collectors. He is a straightforward, genuine and generous person. What’s more, his philosophy on collecting art is equally genuine: He buys what he enjoys seeing. He’s the furthest remove from those who collect art based on perceived value. He’s a true collector.
I also thank Shawn Miller, also a collector of my art, for his generosity in making the exhibition catalog possible.
Postscript, August 8, 2010: Please take a moment to view this video profile of Doug Nielsen, produced by the University of Arizona.
Postscript, August 25, 2010: An interview with Doug Nielsen by the University of Arizona’s student newspaper, the Arizona Daily Wildcat.