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No Illusions: 3 Things Every Optical Art Collector Should Know

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Optical artworks, known as Op Art, arrived on the gallery scene in the rebellious and expansive '60s, proving that bold colors, clean lines, and white spaces make compelling subjects. Due to the adaptive nature of the form, Op Art has been a lively part of the art scene since it emerged.

There are 3 things you should know about collecting Op Art.

If you see an Op Art piece you really want, buy it fast.

There is growing interest in contemporary and early Op Art, meaning works of art of this form should continue to rise in value. If you find a painting or sculpture you really enjoy, it may not be on the market long. Be prepared to act fast so you won't be disappointed.

Try to give yourself a heads up concerning artists whose works you wish to collect. Visit Optical Art galleries to see what's out there. Check out artists' websites and blogs, and subscribe to online and print journals that cover the Op Art scene. Pay attention when new exhibits and showings will be in your area to expose yourself to as much of the Op Art world as possible.

Optical artists create diverse bodies of work.

Op Art isn't a phenomenon sustained solely by painters and conceptual artists in the U.S. or Europe. Stunning works are being created by Asian, South American, and Middle Eastern artists, too.

One well-received artist, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, hails from the remote desert of Western Australia and is part of a collective of Aboriginal abstract artists. His lined, geometric paintings remind one of an unmarked topographical map, hinting at the unnamed wildness of the world. Many of his works are sacred in nature, telling ancient stories through repetition and shape. There is a big wide world of Op Art like this to discover, so expand your horizons when you're scouting out new works to collect.

It's worth it to make room for future Op Art.

Take measurements now of the areas where you will display your Op Art acquisitions. If you envision hanging a large painting in an office or common room, make sure you've got the wall space and that the wall can support the weight of the installation. You may need additional hardware or structural upgrades to hang some pieces.

Remember to think of corners and outdoor areas, too. Sculptures and other conceptual works are best displayed in a clean corner or on blocks in the case of unsupported pieces. Other Op Art creations are meant to be installed out of doors and will work fine in gardens and on patios. Take measurements of the outdoor area; ensure you have a secure base for the work; and make sure you have proper power available for any light features.