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Michael Hawley: The Collector Who Believes ‘Art Is For Everyone’
Episode 22023rd May 2023 • Not Real Art • Crewest Studio
00:00:00 01:01:10

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“Anybody can be a collector of beautiful things,” says Michael Hawley, who heads the Getty Museum Photographs Council (GMPC), a donors’ group that helps the museum acquire work from underrepresented artists. The world of art collection and custodianship is historically elitist, so it’s no wonder many people find the idea of simply entering a gallery intimidating. An established collector himself, Michael reassures would-be collectors that art is for everyone and anyone can be a collector with the right mindset. 

On today’s podcast episode, host and NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Michael to discuss the curator’s avid love of art and his mission to democratize ownership for collectors of all different incomes. “We're very interested in this democratization of art,” Michael says of the Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles, where he is also a sitting chairperson. To draw in a younger audience, the council recently instituted an affordable membership level for educators and students of all ages. “We don't want it to be or feel elitist,” he continues. 

Michael shares pieces of his personal story, describing how his growing art collection led to a position with the Getty: “Some of the curators from the Getty came and saw [my collection] and thought it was interesting, and the way that I collected was interesting, and what I collected was interesting, and asked me to be part of the Photographs Council,” he tells Scott. Michael also chats about the intersection of art and AI, the role of NFTs in democratizing art, and how to get a collection started on a budget.

This episode is dedicated to anyone who’s ever felt too intimidated to start an art collection. To start your collection with confidence, tune in to our fascinating conversation with Michael Hawley, who firmly believes “art is for everyone.”

In Today’s Episode

Michael Hawley discusses…

  • The story behind the first piece in his collection
  • His personal approach to art collecting
  • Why philanthropy and support for the arts and are so important
  • How to become a collector on whatever budget you’re working with
  • His advice for collectors intimidated by high-end galleries 
  • The premise and purpose behind the Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles
  • The specific challenges that go along with democratizing art
  • Why collecting art is really a form of self-care
  • The contemporary artists he’s particularly excited about right now

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