Social Justice, Scholarship, the Arts and Investigative Journalism
In 1971, when I was twenty-two, I found myself at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, with the responsibility of organizing a photographic print sale to generate funds for its workshop program. To that end, I helped to produce a modest print sale catalogue of photographs donated by, among others Ken Josephson, Keith Smith, Harry Callahan, Henry Wessel, Eikoh Hosoe, and Aaron Siskind. The first call I received in response to the catalogue was from David Logan of Chicago.
David acquired nearly half the work in the sale. At that time, he was perhaps one of only a half-dozen collectors who would have know the work of Alice Wells, Michael Bishop, or Robert Fichter. Together, Reva and David already had spent ten years building a significant collection of photographs by young artists and hundreds of photographic books and periodicals. Shortly after the sale, I decided I would like to go to Chicago to meet them. I learned that they already had three sons, but I was young and figured that if I could get in the door they might adopt me as a photo-foster child. I know I adopted them. I was overwhelmed by the energy of their activities and their sense of urgency about collecting, business, politics, art education, music and tennis. I never got the hang of tennis, but my life was shaped forever by the Logan family – a think tank of interests that valued both Camera Work and Mad magazine, with ideas about how one made the other possible.
It may have been inevitable in this context that they would build what is undeniably one of the most important collections of artist-illustrated books in the United States. I will always remember the thrill of being invited into their library to be introduced to their latest book acquisitions. Now, clearly uninterested in retiring on their laurels, the Logans continue to move forward, chasing books and information and developing yet new venues for their impeccable connoisseurship.
Many collectors, I suspect, are attracted to the process of building collections because they like creating or maintaining hierarchies. I believe that everything that Reva and David Logan have collected – friends, magazines, Stieglitz photographs, Picasso prints, and rare books – has been for just the opposite reason. They recognize that, in the end, it is all of this “stuff” that finally unites us as people.