Pittsburgh Show Aims at Attracting Young Collectors

Andy Warhol, Collector of Antiques
Andy Warhol, Collector of Antiques

Going to an antique show is a good way to make you feel young.

So tonight I was happy to note the goal of attracting young people when reading an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the Oakmont Antique Show.

Other than noting not everything at the show has a price with multiple zeros, the article doesn’t get into the “how” of attracting a younger audience. It might seem a bit of a tall order.

I have thought about this from time to time, however. When something is called a “flea market,” young people seem to dominate a crowd. On this count, price could have something to do with it. I am noticing more and more higher-priced items, more than $500 at flea markets, at least here in Brooklyn.

Some of it could be the location. Pittsburgh currently has two antique shows each year, both in suburbs along the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. I’d venture these areas have an older population and aren’t on the radar screens of a younger audience. There used to be a show at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland, but for whatever reason, it no longer takes place.

The other thing I find confounding is that young people seem to love the Antiques Road Show on PBS, but somehow don’t take the next step into collecting antiques.

If I were running a show, especially a show in Pittsburgh, I might try to make the connection between Andy Warhol and antiques. If you didn’t know, he collected them. There was a show at the Warhol Museum a few years back that showcased some of the items he collected, that so out of step with 2009 brown furniture.

I mentioned the suburbs, but I haven’t yet mentioned that the shows are held in country clubs. It’s a comfortable setting, but I’d venture it that fact skews the average age higher.

There’s also this collecting aspect I’m not sure resonates with a young audience. This segment of the population moves a lot, something that’s difficult to do with a collection large furniture.

I thought for a moment the word “antique” could be the problem, and one solved easily enough by using another. More troubling perhaps, at least as far as young people are concerned, lies with that word “collecting.” If I don’t “collect” something, why on earth would I go all the way to the suburbs for an antique show? The truth is, you don’t need to have a collection. Not everyone wants a collection, but everyone wants an interesting apartment.

“Decoration” might bring us around to a show held say in conjunction with the Home and Garden Show, or with the Old House Fair, downtown at the Convention Center.

I’m not suggesting the Oakmont Show relocate, or that there isn’t any reason for a younger audience to attend. There is. To any young people in the Pitstburgh area or close enough for a road trip, it’s a great show where you’ll find a lot of knowledgable dealers who can help you find something to add interest to your apartment, and even start a collection if you so desire.

So head out to Oakmont and support the Kerr Memorial Museum.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.


Leave a Reply