Collection (or How I Spent a Year)

January 22–April 1, 2004

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents a selection of works collected over the course of the past year by curator Bob Nickas. For this project, Nickas abided by certain tenets: he could buy as many works as he desired by a different artist each month, but none whom he had written about or with whom he had worked prior to 2003. The exhibition includes almost 30 works by Matthew Brannon, Peter Coffin, Jules de Balincourt, Trisha Donnelly, Jim Drain, Charles Henri Ford, Christian Holstad, Louise Lawler, Tim Lokiec, Lee Lozano, Dave Muller, Ara Peterson, and Josh Smith.

Working independently, Bob Nickas has realized more than forty exhibitions, which he views as his "fictional collections," for galleries and museums since 1984. For this exhibition, he originally planned to buy one work each month, and at the end of the year have 12 works by different artists to be exhibited in a public space. As the months passed, however, he altered his plan, allowing himself to buy any number of works by a single artist each month.

While the curator/critic is usually paid to choose the artist and paid for their opinion of the work, for this project Nickas had to pay to make his position known. Of this reversal he said, "It has affected the way I look at art, and, I suspect, not only for the duration of this project. On the one hand, if I am unwilling to part with my hard-earned money, how worthy can the art really be? On the other, there are certainly works far above my humble means. Like any collector, I can dream."

  • Josh Smith
    Title Pages (2001)
    198 collage/drawings
    8 1/2 x 11 in. each
    Encased in wood box, hand-engraved with wood burner, hinges (2004)
    12 7/8 x 10 1/4 x 4 in.

  • Jim Drain 
    Yellow Gate (2003)
    Knitted fabric and beads over wood, with synthetic hair
    51 x 43 x 19 in.


Collection (or, How I Spent a Year) was organized by P.S.1 Curatorial Advisor Bob Nickas.