Josef Vascovitz and Lisa Goodman
Consulting; Real estate
The couple Josef Vascovitz and Lisa Goodman have a sort of Spider-Man approach to museum patronage: With great wealth comes great responsibility (to donate meaningful works of art). The two have donated numerous works from their collection (including many works by artists of color) to the Seattle Art Museum, where Goodman and Vascovitz have both served as trustees.
Among works they’ve given to the museum are a 2006 soundsuit by Nick Cave, several works on paper by Cheryl Pope, a 2007 sculpture by South African artist Walter Oltmann, and examples from Carrie Mae Weems’s acclaimed “Kitchen Table Series.” In 2015 while serving on an acquisitions committee at SAM, Vascovitz and other committee members acquired Deed of Gift, a conceptual artwork by contemporary artists Matthew Offenbacher and Jennifer Nemhauser that consisted of buying works by women and queer artists for the museum’s permanent collection.
Vascovitz and Goodman are also voracious collectors of contemporary art in their own right. (They are familiar faces at various art fairs, including the Seattle Art Fair and Frieze Los Angeles.) Vascovitz first became interested in collecting almost three decades ago when he first started making trips to South Africa and learning about the country’s vibrant contemporary art scene, and in time would regularly visit its two largest galleries, Goodman Gallery and Stevenson gallery.
But it was after the couple met that they began their collection in earnest, and make their purchasing decisions together. Currently, their collection numbers over 500 pieces, with a specific emphasis on collecting contemporary African artists, artists of the African diaspora, and work by artists of color.
Highlights in the collection include Kehinde Wiley’s 2013 Young Man Holding a Skull, Amy Sherald’s 2015 Saint Woman, Toyin Ojih Odutola’s 2016 In This Imperfect Present Moment, and a piece by Ghanaian-Nigerian artist El Anatsui that was included in the artist’s his first solo show in the United States. A 2019 acquisition is Betye Saar’s Cage (In the Beginning), 2006, one of the artist’s first assemblage sculptures using cages, which the couple has promised to loan to a museum for the next 10 years.