The Collector: A Proposal

Friday, November 17, 2017 - Monday, April 30, 2018

VENUE: Project Space

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NOTE: This exhibition is open during Carriage House Concerts and special events only. 

This exhibition features a proposal for an ambitious, large-scale outdoor installation and community engagement project by Lucas Artists Fellow Máximo González. Over a period of six years, González has carefully crafted a mysterious alter ego he calls “the collector.” Performed by the artist, this elusive figure has travelled the world painting portraits of dead and dying trees. Many of these works are on view here.

In July 2016, González undertook a one-month residency at the Lucas Artists Program (LAP) at Montalvo Arts Center. During his stay he travelled to some of California’s most treasured national parks to continue working on this project. At the end of his time at the LAP, González presented a proposal for a new art installation on Montalvo’s grounds. The project will consist of a small cabin nestled in Montalvo’s woods that will contain hundreds of paintings, drawings, and studies of dead, dry, burnt, and cut trees amassed by “the collector.” This Project Space installation is intended to convey how that space might appear once it is constructed. Montalvo’s patrons will be able to visit the cabin, which will become a site for community conversation and workshops about environmental sustainability, the health of our forests, and our role as stewards of public lands. Guided storytelling tours to the cabin will feature tales by writers who take the fictional character of “the collector” as a point of departure to create compelling new narratives.

For González, this project represents an opportunity for the artist to confront his growing concern about the negative impacts of climate change, as we seem to be slipping further and further into a new and uncertain era of environmental jeopardy—perhaps most recently demonstrated by the devastating wildfires in Northern and Southern California.

Many of the works González created for the project were recently stolen -- and subsequently recovered. Read more about the dramatic search for these lost drawings and paintings on our Open Access blog.

The exhibition is open by appointment only. Drop into the Montalvo Box Office during business hours to request access or contact to schedule a visit.


  • The hiking trails. FRI NOVEMBER 17, 2017 7 P.M. (Project Space)
    Open Access
    Into the Woods: Commissioning Artists in a Forest

    How does an artist develop the seed of an idea into a new work? Join two Lucas Artist Fellows -- visual artist Maximo Gonzalez and composer Howard Hersh -- as they discuss works they are developing for, and are inspired by, Montalvo ...

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