Amanda and Glenn R. Fuhrman
Investments (MSD Capital)
In 2014 Glenn Fuhrman, who cofounded the private investment firm MSD Capital with fellow Top 200 Collector John Phelan, told the Austin Chronicle that he and his wife, Amanda, are “drawn to works that have a real aesthetic appeal but also some additional layer of meaning . . . something that allows the work to be more than just a pretty picture.”
Certainly this is true of one of the largest works that the Fuhrmans own: Table and Four Chairs (2003), a ten-foot-tall dining set by the late sculptor Robert Therrien. The same quirky sense of mystery infuses their entire collection, which includes works by Jim Hodges, Jim Torok, Charles Ray, Juan Muñoz, Maurizio Cattelan, and Katharina Fritsch, among many others.
An exhibition of their artwork, curated by Louis Grachos, was shown at the Contemporary Austin in Texas in 2014. Titled “A Secret Affair: Selections from the Fuhrman Family Collection,” the show was meant to “serve as a metaphor for the passion of collecting and the intimate relationship between the art object and its beholder,” according to a release.
That show then traveled to the FLAG Art Foundation, the Fuhrmans’ Chelsea exhibition space, which they opened in 2008. FLAG has done some quirky exhibitions, including one curated by star basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, but emphasizes mounting exhibitions by some of today’s best contemporary artists, including Sam Gilliam, Genevieve Gaignard, and Kamrooz Aram.
In 2018, the Furhmans announced that they would join fellow Top 200 collector Suzanne Deal Booth in supporting an artist prize totaling some $800,000. It is among the biggest prizes given in the art world. The Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation Prize, which is administered by the Contemporary Austin, comes with $200,000 in cash and $600,000 in funding an exhibition of new work and a catalogue. The new prize’s first winner was Nicole Eisenman in 2018. (The original prize came with $100,000 from Deal Booth and first went to Rodney McMillian in 2016.)
In an interview with ARTnews Editor-in-Chief Sarah Douglas that appears in The Flag Foundation: 2008–2018, a handsome book marking the 10th anniversary of Fuhrman’s New York exhibition space, Glenn, who is also a Museum of Modern Art board member, revealed that years ago Gerhard Richter thought the budding collector was too young to buy a 100-panel painting the artist thought should go to a public institution. Fuhrman says he told Richter’s dealer, Marian Goodman, “I’m really in love with this piece and you have to find a way.” And a way was found.