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“I believe in ignoring the trends,” George Economou once told the Wall Street Journal. “People buy with their ears. You should buy with your eyes—which represent your heart—and not with your ears.” Economou has been buying with his eyes since 2001, and in the close to two decades since, he has amassed a large and eclectic collection that includes everything from work by Pablo Picasso to lesser-known early 20th-century German and Austrian artists—as well as public telephones. In recent years, has shifted aesthetic gears to a fuller embrace of postwar and contemporary art. On the topic of his favorite works in his collection, he told ARTnews, “I would point out a few with diverse sentimental value, such as the Japanese Gutai [movement] as represented by Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga; also American reductive artists Robert Ryman, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin.” He also included European artists working today like Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter.
Though he has expressed a special liking for German Expressionism, you won’t find many works identifying with it on display at his home. “I don’t think that these are really pictures you want to have in your bedroom,” he once said of the style. But he has ample opportunity to show works of different kinds at the George Economou Collection, a private museum in Athens for which recent exhibitions have featured artists such as David Hammons, Rashid Johnson, and Charles Ray. In 2015, Economou joined the board of the Dia Art Foundation, the bastion for Minimalist art and work of different interrelated kinds based in New York. Maybe as a result of his enterprising and eclectic tastes, Economou has found himself feeling fortunate—he once said he considers himself “a very happy person—alive and vivid.”