The best art collectors each reveal a work they looked at differently at home – see them here



As galleries around the world slowly begin to reopen, we’re highlighting individual exhibitions – online and IRL – that deserve your attention.

Collect wisely: the exhibition
Online at Sean Kelly, New York

What the gallery says: “During this interregnum, we have stopped to reflect and reflect more intensely not only on what we value, but on our own core values. With the closure of galleries, museums, cultural, performing and visual arts institutions, we are confident that art will continue to inspire and support us, perhaps more than ever.

To reflect on and explore this conviction more broadly, we turned to the collectors presented in the [Collect Wisely] podcast and asked them how recent conditions have affected their current thinking about art. In particular, is there a work of art in their own collection that they have deeply contemplated in this time of self-isolation and quarantine? Or is there some work in their collection through which they have discovered new meaning, or rediscovered a passion, given the difficult and unfamiliar circumstances we find ourselves in? We hope it will bring encouragement and inspiration to the entire art community.

Why it’s worth a look: Rarely do high-flying collectors open their doors to let in the hoi polloi. But with this virtual exhibit, not only do we get to see top notch works of art in situ, but the collectors who purchased them describe what led them to each individual piece.

When Sean Kelly launched his “Collect Wisely” initiative in 2018, the world was very different: the art market was at its peak and galleries were opening up new spaces left and right. The goal of the “Collect Wisely” podcast, which put Kelly in conversation with collectors, was to offer insight into the practice of buying art for love, not for quick profit. Today, two years later, this practice is more important than ever to support the artists and the galleries that support them.

For this exhibition, the gallery reached out to some of the inimitable collectors who have joined Kelly on her podcast to find out which work of art touches them the most in these weird days. Participants include Marieluise Hessel Artzt, J. Tomilson Hill, Rodney Miller, Howard Rachofsky, Gary Yeh and Tiffany Zabludowicz.

What did he look like:

Franck Thiel, Piedras Blancas, (2012/2013). © Frank Thiel / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. The Rodney Miller Collection. Courtesy of: Sean Kelly, New York.

One of my most rewarding experiences as a collector is sharing works with others through museum loans. It is gratifying to introduce the works to a wider audience. In addition, seeing the work in a museum setting often changes my experience with it. It may be the larger physical space, compared to home, seeing the reactions of others, or seeing the work in conjunction with different arts or artists, but there is no doubt that there is a change.

White Piedras is currently on loan to the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago. This may be one of the rare times that I will not be able to see one of my works in a traveling exhibition, because the museum is closed. However, the increase in the time spent looking at art online has renewed my affection for this work.

—Rodney Miller

Anj Smith, The fighter, (2010). © Anj Smith, photo: Alex Delfanne. The collection of Tiffany Zabludowicz. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

I thought about the work of Anj Smith, The fighter, during this moment. The magnificent, universal and melancholy work of Anj, against a dystopian background, encourages us all to courageously fight the darkness of external and internal forces. The powerful work shows a person gazing directly at the viewer as creatures encroach upon his mercurial body …

We are all united at the moment but also so alone and Anj’s work teaches us all about courage, power and challenge.

—Tiffany Zabludowicz

Idris Khan, Four minutes and thirty-three seconds, (2012). © Idris Khan. The collection of Pablo Sepúlveda. Courtesy of: Sean Kelly, New York.

During these past quarantine weeks, Viviana, the girls and I have had the opportunity to see and appreciate every piece of art we have owned from a different perspective. Art has helped a lot to cope with this difficult period …

The art of Idris Khan has always captivated us; we find his photographic work deep because of the depth of all his layers, intense but in a subtle way. The way he uses color and shapes gives us peace. All the layers of information in this piece remind me of the complexity of the times we live in. A circumstance that is new to everyone and a time that requires us to be creative, in the same way that Idris Khan had to be creative when he designed this work of art.

—Pablo Sepúlveda

Titus Kaphar, Time travel, (2013). © Titus Kaphar. Ron Pizzuti’s collection. Courtesy: The Artist and Gagoasian, New York.

Black Americans are contracting the coronavirus and dying at an alarming rate that is disproportionate to the percentage of deaths in the white community.

The racism that existed during the Civil War still exists to a large extent today. The bleaching that has dominated this painting sends a message to our nation that we must fight the grave injustice caused by the lack of adequate medical coverage for Blacks and Browns. Initially, service-oriented jobs do not come with the perks that many members of the white community take for granted.

Time travel has a very different meaning for me than it had when I acquired the painting. I’m sure it took on new meaning for Titus as well.

– Ron Pizzuti

Isamu Noguchi, Stone embrace (1985). © 2020 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The collection of J. Tomilson Hill.

Over the past few weeks, every morning Noguchi’s Stone embrace Calling me to leave our room and start another day of isolation in East Hampton with my wife and daughter. Aside from the beach walks, we were confined to our house, which allowed us to view the art in our house with an intensity and focus that we would never have in our “normal” routine.

This basalt sculpture by Noguchi always has something different to say… during a rainstorm when the wind is blowing at 80 knots… during clear clear days, as seen here, when the sun goes down Stone embrace and casts shadows on the stone at sunrise and sunset.

—J Tomilson Hill

Félix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled ”(Perfect lovers) (1987-1990). © Félix Gonzalez-Torres
The collection of Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. Courtesy of the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation.

The works of Felix Gonzalez-Torres were informed by the fact that he was a gay man living with HIV. The discovery of the AIDS virus in the early 1980s and the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s highlighted extreme societal prejudices against the gay community and people living with AIDS. Likewise, this new viral threat quickly became intertwined with other potentially deadly realities such as systemic discrimination, domestic violence, climate change, economic inequality, homelessness and mental health, issues that are often hidden, obscured, distorted or marginalized. At times like these, Gonzalez-Torres’ work reminds Cindy and I of the lessons we have learned from the HIV / AIDS pandemic and how those lessons can usefully be applied in the fight against COVID-19. That is, at all times, and to the best of our ability, to act kindly and show compassion and humanity.

—Howard Rachofsky

Richard Long, Untitled (2015). © 2020 Richard Long. All rights reserved, DACS, London / ARS, NY. Dan Sallick’s collection.

I chose a work that we commissioned about five years ago for our living room from iconic English artist Richard Long. Crafted from white clay sourced from the artist’s home and applied with her own hand to linen, the piece has an organic and personal feel that feels intimate, despite its massive scale. In this dark and uncertain moment, this work has a relentless positive energy that refuses to bow to the moment. It radiates and welcomes you every day, allowing you to take advantage of its dynamic nature to help you get through the most surreal moments of this crisis.

To me, this piece represents timeless natural movement and strength. Somehow I look at it and think it will be okay. I also feel grateful. It reminds me of what I love most about the art collection, which is inspired by the genius and creativity of artists. I will remember that feeling and cherish my newfound appreciation for art among us long after I got past this crisis.

—Dan Sallick

Tomás Saraceno, Hybrid Dark semi-social Choreography HIP 54879 built by: a duo of Cyrtophora citricola-four weeks old, (2019). © Tomás Saraceno. The Tiqui Atencio collection
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York / Los Angeles.

When I look at this work, it’s not just the art that I admire; it also teaches me something. It makes me more aware of the immensity of our connections as human beings. How spiders, these amazing creatures, this ancient species that preceded us on this land of millions of years, learned to adapt to their environment without harming nature, on the contrary …

I’ve always thought of cobwebs as a symbol of how I love to collect, and I have more cobwebs in my collection, but living with this one has given me a whole new dimension. of appreciation.

—Tiqui Atencio

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (God sends the devil’s meat and cooks) (1988). Courtesy of the artist. The Alain Servais Collection.

I like the following statement, which I read once and now quote freely: “A museum collection tends to represent a period as fully as possible while a private collection is a snapshot.

I care about the historical, social, political and cultural context of a work of art. It often has universal power, but it is best understood in the context of the time it was created. This original context does not change with new events. If my perception of a work of art changes, it is probably more often because I understand better or differently the context in which it was created.

One work that I am happy to highlight for its universal relevance is this 1988 work by Barbara Kruger. We are at a time when we must remember that behind all good there is evil and behind all evil there is good.

—Alain Servais

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