Artists’ motivations, when they specify that they want their works to go to museums, can be more economic than ideological. “Most Lower East Side dealers do their best to select people who will care for the work and who don’t treat it like a commodity,” said Jasmin Tsou, owner and director of the gallery JTT. In other words, selling to private collectors always creates a risk that many young artists want to avoid: seeing their work turn up at auction.
That said, some artists see significant value in selling to a diverse group of private collectors.
noted that she has started advocating “access for collectors of color.” Black artists and their works are being celebrated right now, and, she said, “it’s fitting that the work would be able to live amongst at least some of the folks it’s representing.”
Gaignard echoed Roberts in saying that, for so long, people of color couldn’t see themselves “represented in visual stories of America and beyond.” She believes that when there’s high demand for an artist’s work, “it’s important for collectors of color to be given early access to previews and first rights to purchase,” she said. “So often, they are left off these lists.”