LCC alum makes mark as art curator - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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LCC alum makes mark as art curator

Charles Moore

Charles Moore is an art historian, writer, and curator based out of New York.  Photo from

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

There have been a lot of LCC graduates who have gone on to live impressive lives, but former LCC student Charles Moore continues to cultivate the type of success that most will only dream about.

Moore, 47, is an art historian, writer, and curator now based in New York. His exhibitions have centered around everything from the work of an artist on death row to the history of pantyhose.

He said he always had high hopes for his life, describing himself as a “very ambitious person,” but he also said that his most recent success as a freelance art curator felt a little unreal.  

“It was always a dream of mine to work on Wall Street,” he said, “but I don’t think I expected that when I first entered the art world, I would ever be curating an exhibition in Mulan.”

Moore was born and raised in Detroit with three younger siblings, but he went to East Lansing for high school and, from there, he began to plan a future of travel.

“People thought I was crazy,” he said with a laugh. “I was just a kid from Detroit talking about living in Italy.”

 After graduating high school, Moore attended Michigan State University as a business administration and finance major. However, due to the general burnout caused by his first few semesters, he took some time off. Eventually, what started as a break became a barrier.

“One year turned into two and two turned into four and then it felt like, ‘Wow, that will probably never happen,’” he said.

Until it did. Moore not only went back and got his bachelor’s degree but he did it in just two years. During this time, he attended both LCC and Ferris State University.

“I took about 18 to 24 credits a semester because I was going almost full-time at both places,” he said. “I started in 2003 and I graduated in 2005.”

Moore also relocated to New York City in 2005. Once there, he was finally able to fulfill his lifelong dream of working on Wall Street; it was while he was working with E1 Asset Management in New York that he also started going for his first master’s degree at St. John’s University.

“I was continuously thinking about languages and living abroad and having an international experience,” he said. “I choose St. John’s because they had a campus in Rome. I went for one semester in New York and then I transferred to the Rome campus and finished my MBA while working at a bank.”

Moore absolutely loves Italy, and still to this day will say it his favorite place in the world. However, the Roman economy still struggles and it was enough to send him back to New York in search of better opportunity after graduation.

He found a good job but he also discovered his passion in life.

“In 2012, I moved back to New York and I started working in wealth management again,” he said. “Within six months of moving back to New York, I started collecting art. It got to the point where I was going to work and I would be in my mentor’s office shushing him in the middle of a meeting because I would be buying art online because I was so obsessed.

“At some point I became so obsessed that I realized art collecting was my true calling.”

To not feel out of place, he went back to school AGAIN in 2019 for another Master’s Degree in museum studies from Harvard University. Since then, he has also published four books, three of which center completely around art collecting.

His first book, “The Black Market; A Guide to Art Collecting,” he said was born completely out of necessity.

“I realized that there were no books by Black authors speaking about Black collectors who were collecting the works of Black artists,” Moore said. “So, I decided that I really wanted to write a book that was sort of a 101 to art collecting.”

He added the second and third books (“Israel’s Transformative Artists” and “The Brilliance of the Color Black Through the Eyes of Art Collectors”) were just about getting all that he had experienced, within the world of art, on the page.

Moore also wrote a memoir, titled “Apropos of Running,” but that book more outlines his journey as a marathon runner. He said he has completed 25 marathons in total. To him, running is the thing that reminds him discouragement is a temporary feeling.

His own art collection is now worth approximately a quarter of a million dollars but he describes the process as a journey. He still remembers the first piece he ever bought. It was only $50.

“One of the things I wanted to do when I wrote my books is debunk the ideology that you have to be a millionaire to collect art,” he said.

Moore said his favorite piece has nothing to do with the price. It’s actually a collection of pieces; they are portraits, done by different artists, of his 5-year-old son, Charles II, on every birthday he has had so far.

“They’re works that I would never sell in a million years,” he said, fondly.

LCC Academic and Arts Outreach Coordinator Melissa Kaplan recently spoke with Moore on an episode of her podcast, “Galaxy Forum.” She still remembers how impressed she was by the expansive nature of his resume.

“He’s an inspiration,” Kaplan said. “We’re proud he’s an LCC alumnus!”

Currently, Moore is working on his doctorate dissertation on an abstract expressionist named Ed Clark at the Teachers College within Columbia University while continuing to travel and curate international exhibitions.

Moore’s advice for those struggling in life is to “go where the love is” and “read everything.” He said he feels like he has been almost everywhere, but he will never forget where it all started.

“It was LCC that gave me my first glimpse of adventure,” Moore said.



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