We speak with Harold Berg



Harold Berg, collector and economist based in Barcelona. Berg is a member of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Photography Committee and a collaborator at MACBA. Passionate about the American artist Gordon Matta-Clark, his interests in art center on the 60s and 70s, particularly on artists who worked with limited resources and readdressed the status quo. 



Which are the current trends that you find the most interesting?

Two trends that I personally find very attractive are current video art and performance. On the one hand, it is very interesting the way video art is expanding in reach and breadth just as video is becoming part of everybody’s life (smartphones, YouTube, etc).

On the other hand, it is fascinating the transformation process performance is going through. In the 60s it was a very advanced field, experimenting in ways other arts were very timid. In this sense, Rituals of a Rented Island was organized at the Whitney Museum of American Art in order to show that phenomena. Today we are witnessing that same situation, possibly as a preview of what is about to happen in a near future in the art system.

How do you imagine art in the next five years?

Since fortune-telling is not my field, I have no clue. Nevertheless, I would like to see it less rationalized, more in touch with everyday life, and existing beyond the institutional framework.

I am sure it will be more local, in the sense that every country’s art scene will show different traits and interesting shifts. It makes no sense to me that an artist in Guatemala, to say, tries to copycat what is going on in Berlin, for example.

What does an artwork need to get your interest on it?

It needs to surprise me, whatever that means, and make me think and connects dots. Otherwise, I will consider it a mere fashion.

Why do you think people should come to Swab?

The institutional system is very biased and at times overrationalized. Most art fairs and biennales have such a commercial bias. I was surprised to see that in the last Venice Biennale edition both the American and the British Pavilion had Houser&Wirth artists as their main expositors. Coincidence?

I do not see Swab as an art fair as I regard it as a ground for experimentation. I consider Swab to be a very democratic window, a small initiative rooted in the streets within the small communities, where one can keep up with both emerging and established projects.


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