If you live in or near Philadelphia, you’ve got two days to take a look at director Jonathan Demme’s collection of art by self-taught Haitan artists, and two more to own a piece of it. In the Philadelphia City Paper, A.D. Amorosi reports:
In his essay in the catalog for the Philadelphia-based auction, “Direct From the Eye: The Jonathan Demme Collection of Self-Taught Art,” the Oscar-winning director talks about his experiences with Haitian art — first near his Manhattan apartment at the Haitian Corner, then on a 1986 trip to Port-au-Prince — as a transforming process.
“I got gobbled up, literally consumed,” writes Demme of Haitian art, calling his experience with it “a love affair that will be with me forever.” Demme talks of his life of collecting self-taught art made in Haiti, America, Jamaica and Brazil, as an addiction.
Now, after gathering 900-plus pieces over 30 years, he;s ready to let go. To that end, he chose Material Culture to find new homes for art that he’s lovingly collected but “hoarded away in storerooms where nobody got to see them.”
Demme, who will be present at gallery Material Culture’s Friday night pre-auction parti, shot the documentaries “Dreams of Democracy” and “The Agronomist” in Haiti, and also produced a compilation CD called “Konbit: Burning Rhythms of Haiti.” A “large portion of the proceeds” from the auction will go to rebuilding Centre d’Art Cooperative in Port-au-Prince, which was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. According to recent reports, his next project involves star Meryl Streep and a Diablo Cody script.