Brad Feld

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My New Julien Stanczak

Nov 19, 2007

If you don’t have a vice, I recommend it. 

My good friend and fellow VC blogger Fred Wilson has a music vice.  His blog mixes his passion (ok – kind word for vice) for music with all the other stuff he thinks about, works on, cares about and loves.  When he first started writing about music I tended to skim the posts – now I read every one of them and learn more about music from them than I do any other way.

For some people it is music, for some people it is wine, and for some people it is – well never mind.  My vice is art.  I grew up with art all around me.  My mom (Cecelia Feld) is an artist and as a kid I was dragged from gallery to museum to gallery.  I acted like you’d expect an 11 year boy to act (mom – where is the soccer ball – I don’t want to go to the stupid gallery) but by the time I got to MIT it had sunk in.  MIT doesn’t really have “minors” (they call them “concentrations” just to be different) – one of my concentrations was in Art History.  I now even enjoy going to Santa Fe for the weekend.

Amy and I love to wander around galleries and museums.  Our pace is the same – we are skimmers (people that move briskly through the museum absorbing everything) rather than people than stand and stare at the art.  We learned a long time ago (from a wise art collector) that you should “buy what you love to look at.”  It’s a simple strategy that has served us well over the past 15 years of evolving from beginning art collectors (I remember the agony we went through when we bought our first $1,000 piece since it was a meaningful percentage of my net worth at the time) to what we are today.

On Saturday, we bought our first Julien Stanczak piece while hanging out with our friends at the Danese Gallery in Chelsea.  It’s called Continuum (1995).

It’s a big boy – 70 inches by 70 inches.  Stanczak is an early practitioner of Op Art and is less well known than artists like Bridget Riley (and therefore much more affordable.)  Op Art is short for “optical art” and is typically a painting that takes advantage of optical illusions.  Standing in front of a piece like Continuum is mind blowing (and can quickly turn you into a zombie.)

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have Continuum hanging in our office in Boulder. Please feel free to stare at it.  If you enjoy the art posts, or want to learn more, follow the Wikipedia links above.  I’ve been pleasantly amazed with the quality and depth of information on Wikipedia around art and art history.  It’s a great (and safe) way to satisfy a vice.