I never do in person antiques shows, preferring this bubble I've created where I can enjoy at my own slow and steady pace the process of finding things, photographing them, thinking about them through writing about them, and then packing them up carefully and sending them off to you--with the archive on this website serving as a means of in some way holding onto everything I've bought and sold as Critical Eye Finds. BUT, now, here I am about to do a show: Nameless Art + Design Show, January 26-28, 2024, in NYC. (In keeping with the scale of most of my finds, my footprint will be fairly small, but I've been setting aside some things specially for it!)
Over the past several months I've been helping out in the planning of Nameless, a new project spearheaded by Adam Irish of Old As Adam (and also The Found Object Show and Threadbare) and curated by 24 dealers from around the country, many of whom have been hugely inspirational to Critical Eye. One part gallery show and one part antiques fair, Nameless focuses on American art and objects, antique to mid-20th c., created by anonymous and otherwise unknown makers, largely self-taught: folk art, outsider art, vernacular photography, furniture, textiles and more.
When I started Critical Eye Finds, I had no idea what I was doing. What I knew was that I liked going out and looking at (and for) things. Mostly to date that had been contemporary art (though I also frequented thrift shops and estate sales) as I had spent my career working for non-profit, artist-supporting organizations; and most of what I had collected for myself was contemporary art by emerging artists, most of whom I knew personally. Happily, Critical Eye Finds became--is--a vehicle for discovery. And what I discovered was a whole world of things previously unknown to me or to which I'd never paid much attention. Most notably things made by hand by unknown people long ago, rooted in folk and craft traditions rather than shaped by (filtered through) formal training, and so often alive with singularity, holding a specific individual's particular way of seeing the world, who used whatever means were available to them to express it. More than anywhere else I think, it is in the realm of folk and self-taught art that I've found work that resonates for me now, cutting across time and space with a beauty and clarity and immediacy that, indeed, delights and surprises and inspires, and makes one (me) feel connected--in a rare and special way--to a larger humanity.
Nameless is very much about this sort of discovery--a passionate, genre-crossing, mulit-generational group of dealers sharing their own recent discoveries with the public, and, especially, aspiring to spark the open-eyed, curious-minded drive toward discovery in others. Established market values linked to the names of known makers do not apply, creating a level playing field of sorts. At the same time, Nameless launches from the belief that "nameless" work deserves to be honored and valued as much as that of "known" makers. Focus is placed squarely back on objects themselves--and the joys of looking and learning and loving for oneself.