How did we get to that figure? Well, if you accept that a special exhibition has on average 100 objects, and you go to at least 40 shows a year, that’s already 4,000 objects. Then there’s the permanent collection spaces, say those have 15 to 50 pieces per room, and there’s at least 10 rooms, so that is anywhere from 150 to 500 items…Now of course, we’re also saying that we’ve spent more than 3 seconds on each object wherever it is displayed, examining and filing away images, questions, comparisons to other works and so on. And this has been over many years, in cities and towns across the world, not to mention in chapels, churches, cathedrals, galleries, and public areas like streets and subway stations. Then there’s the books…now that’s worth a good 3,000 images a year, easy. And studied in some depth as well, don’t forget.
We’ve embraced everything: adoring Impressionism (French and American), ancient artifacts ranging from Sumerian to Mesoamerican, Northern Renaissance (actually, that’s still a favorite), all the -isms and strange international art groups that lasted only a year or two, and finally, an acceptance that there were very few surprises left in our knowledge of the world of artistic endeavor.
And then we discovered contemporary ceramics.