To find out more about the minds behind the ARTnews “Top 200 Collectors,” we asked the connoisseurs in our survey what they have recently acquired. Responses were diverse, ranging from works by big names—a rabbit sculpture by Jeff Koons, for example—to new paintings, sculptures, and videos by lesser-known emerging artists. “It has been a busy year,” Daniel and Estrellita B. Brodsky said when thinking back—and it’s easy to imagine other collectors echoing the sentiment. See below for a look at some of the newest finds and acquisitions in the world’s leading art collections.
The Grand Tour
Because collectors were surveyed this summer, most hadn’t traveled yet to buy works on view at the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and Skulptur Projekte Münster. But one exhibition had already attracted collectors: Damien Hirst’s “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” at the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana in Venice. Julie and Edward J. Minskoff said they bought three works from that exhibition, which featured grand sculptures that Hirst said he found at a shipwreck whose fictional fantasy was his own. (The works were produced in Hirst’s studio.) François Pinault, who partially funded the exhibition, and Qiao Zhibing also bought work from that show. Elsewhere in Venice, Samson Young’s We Are the World, a sound installation that debuted at a collateral exhibition during the Biennale, was acquired by Uli Sigg.
In the run-up to the Biennale, two artists who showed work in Venice became a hit with collectors: Katja Novitskova, who represented Estonia, and Anne Imhof, whose performance piece at the German Pavilion, Faust, earned her the Biennale’s Golden Lion prize. Karen and Christian Boros, Danny Goldberg, and Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo have all added photo-sculptures by Novitskova to their collections, while the Rubell Family and Walter Vanhaerents have acquired work by Imhof.
Collecting for the Future
While the majority of the “Top 200” collectors are interested largely in mid-career and established artists, some consider it their duty to help shape the art world for the years to come. “These young people, these young artists—they are the future of art history,” Budi Tek, who opened the Yuz Museum in Shanghai last year, told ARTnews.
It’s no surprise, then, that the future is the interest of many of the emerging artists in these collections. In the past year, Re Rebaudengo acquired Ed Atkins’s dystopian Safe Conduct (2015), a three-channel video installation in which a computer-generated man rips off his face and rolls through a TSA security check. She also bought a sculpture by Josh Kline, whose work about a workforce altered by digital technology has also recently been added to the collection of Elham and Tony Salamé. Sculptures, videos, and installations by Jon Rafman, Amalia Ulman, Marguerite Humeau, Helen Marten, Bunny Rogers, and Yngve Holen, all of whom ponder a posthuman world in their work, were likewise hits with collectors.
Abstraction by young artists, mainly in the form of sculptures, has also been popular. Qiao Zhibing bought a 2016–17 series of bright yellow paintings based on lemons by He Xiangyu, while Bob Rennie and Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida collected sculptures by Kevin Beasley, whose work often takes the form of domestic objects that are crushed, distressed, or otherwise rendered useless. Figurative painting also seems to be on the up and up. The Salamés bought work by Jamian Juliano-Villani, and Glenn Fuhrman added pieces by Cynthia Daignault to his collection. Ahead of her show at the Whitney Museum in New York this fall, Raymond J. McGuire and Crystal McCrary bought Toyin Ojih Odutola’s The Object is the Technique + The Technique is the Object (2015), a painting of a nude woman with her back to the viewer, her face cast toward something that can’t be seen.
While the bulk of collectors on the “Top 200” buy contemporary art, there were a few who added anomalous objects worthy of note. Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder typically buy works by German and Austrian artists, but in the past few years they’ve charted new terrain, buying ancient Greek and Roman sculptures as well. Objects from more recent, but still fairly distant, history have also been of interest for some collectors. Thomas Olbricht said that, in addition to works by Jeanno Gaussi and Bernar Venet, he bought a statue of Death wearing a hood from the 17th century. And Michael Ovitz, for his part, bought an African bronze bust from the 18th century.
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and Latin American Art
One of this year’s most momentous exhibition programs is Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a four-month-long Getty-funded initiative with more than 70 museum exhibitions and related gallery shows in and around Los Angeles. The program focuses on work by Latin American and Latinx artists in numerous disciplines.
Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky, who are newcomers to the “Top 200,” have been collecting Latin American art for years and continued their commitment to artists from the region, with new acquisitions of work by Lygia Pape, who figures in PST: LA/LA shows at the Hammer Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Buenos Aires–born, Guatemala-based Vivian Suter, who is included in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. Suter was also among the many acquisitions of Isabel and Agustín Coppel this year, and Pape was also acquired by Arizona-based Diane and Bruce Halle, who have one of the foremost collections of Latin American art in the country.
One stalwart on the list, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, bought works by Latin American artists including Jose Dávila, who is the subject of a solo exhibition at the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (L.A.N.D.). Another list member with a legacy, Maurice Marciano, features in PST: LA/LA by way of a group show at the Marciano Art Foundation titled “Latin American Artists in the Marciano Collection.”
A number of the collectors on the “Top 200” regarded works by Latin American artists as cornerstones of their collections, including work by Waltercio Caldas, Lygia Clark, Tunga, Hélio Oiticica, Mira Schendel, Willys de Castro, Anna Maria Maiolino, and Ana Mendieta. Other collectors may be playing catch-up in the field—but not Cheech Marin, who is a new addition to the “Top 200” this year and the owner of a formidable collection of Chicano art begun in 1987. His collection has traveled the country and, if all goes according to plan, will find its own public home in Riverside, California, at the tentatively titled Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry. Of course, it helps that so many collectors and institutions are now sharing in similar tastes.
Major Exhibitions, Recent and Forthcoming
Museum retrospectives and surveys have a way of drawing the interest of collectors looking to acquire artists’ most recent and historical works. To wit: In the midst of his well-received exhibition at New York’s MoMA PS1, the British video artist Mark Leckey was the focus of acquisitions by “Top 200” collectors including Candace Carmel Barasch, who picked up two of his works: Machine Bed, from 2016, and Dream English Kid, 1964–1999 AD, from 2015.
Similarly, Haryanto Adikoesoemo recently acquired a work by Yayoi Kusama, who is the subject of a traveling retrospective that originated at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., where Adikoesoemo is a trustee. Isabel and Agustín Coppel acquired work by Ulises Carrión, who had a retrospective at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City earlier this year.
Another artist gaining acclaim after notable exhibitions is the New York–based performance artist Aki Sasamoto, who featured in a show at SculptureCenter in New York and a commission for the recent Shanghai Biennale—and was added to the collection of JK Brown and Eric Diefenbach. Adrián Villar Rojas showed works around the world as part of his series “The Theater of Disappearance,” including a high-profile installation on the roof of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two of such works entered the collection of Dimitris Daskalopoulos.
Collector Martin Eisenberg credited a recent show of Pope.L’s early works at Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery in New York for his purchase of a collage by the artist from 1995. Pope.L gained in notoriety this year for his intense-smelling installation of many dozens of curing bologna slices in the Whitney Biennial—home, too, to a controversial painting by Dana Schutz, who is the subject now of a retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Work by Schutz counts among the acquisitions of Michael Ovitz this year.
Laura Owens, included in the Whitney Biennial in 2014, will be the subject of a major retrospective at the museum in November. She was a favorite of several collectors this year, including Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz, Danny Goldberg, Donald B. Marron, and Elham and Tony Salamé. The Salamés also acquired work by Nicole Eisenman, Raymond Pettibon, and Wolfgang Tillmans, all of whom had major solo exhibitions within the past year. The couple also acquired work by Anicka Yi, whose 2016 video work Flavor Genome was included in the Whitney Biennial and was purchased by collector Julia Stoschek.
Dakis Joannou, who has a habit of acquiring blue-chip works at the right time, recently picked up work by Kaari Upson, the subject of a solo show at the New Museum, and by Helen Marten, the winner of last year’s Turner Prize. Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida acquired work by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the subject of a solo show at New York’s New Museum. Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo also acquired a work by Yiadom-Boakye this year—as well as Emissary Sunsets the Self (2017) by Ian Cheng, who was the subject of a solo show at MoMA PS1.
Painting Is Still King
Since the dawn of modern collecting practices, paintings have often held pride of place in collections. And while contemporary art may have changed ideas about art and its relation to objecthood (as well as the general acceptance of photography, video, and installation work), the legacy of painting remains.
Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz picked up a suite of works by painters this past year, among them Dan Colen, Joe Bradley, and Albert Oehlen, all of whom are known primarily for abstract canvases. A work by Bradley was also among those that Danny Goldberg purchased this year, along with one by Rudolf Stingel. Susan and Leonard Feinstein acquired pieces by two other artists who work with abstraction—Brice Marden and Gerhard Richter; Leonard Feinstein is a cofounder of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Stingel and Richter, along with Mark Bradford, were also on the list of recent purchases by Petra and Stephen Levin, newcomers to this year’s list. Maurice Marciano, who opened his own private museum in Los Angeles this spring, also picked up paintings by Stingel, Bradley, and Colen.
Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian scooped up paintings by Sarah Crowner, Olivier Mosset, and Jennifer Guidi. (And, much like a modern artist of yore, she has also begun collecting 19th- and 20th-century African tribal masks.) Bob Rennie, who is best known in the art world for having one of the largest collections of paintings by Kerry James Marshall, added work by Bridget Riley, Oehlen, Bradford, and Beasley, among others.
Joyner and Giuffrida, who have long collected abstract African-American art, added several new works by painter Jack Whitten. Pierre Lagrange also picked up some Whitten pastels. The works that Walter Vanhaerents acquired by Anne Imhof are paintings, the existence of which might be a surprise for those just learning of Imhof’s work from her performance installation at the Venice Biennale. From action in the midst of the Grand Tour to a prospective new home hanging on a wall—the circle continues.
Below, a slideshow of more recent acquisitions by this year’s “Top 200” Collectors.