London; New York
Infrastructure; Real estate
Lonti Ebers, who lives in New York and London with her husband, Bruce Flatt, the CEO of Brookfield Asset Management, is, like most collectors, generally private about her collection of contemporary art, which numbers over 700 works in her collection. One notable public acquisition, however, was Ebers’s purchase, in May 2019, of Alice Neel’s painting Georgie Arce No. 2 (1955) at Sotheby’s New York for $728,000, a price double its low estimate.
Ebers is also known for her dedication to supporting artists. Currently a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Ebers was previously a longtime trustee of another New York institution: the New Museum. She provided the funds for the institution to borrow Chris Burden’s Tower of Power (1985), a sculpture made almost entirely of gold bricks that was at the time worth $3 million, for his 2013 retrospective there. A few years later, she became one of many museum board members to donate toward the New Museum’s expansion, the first phase of which opened in 2018. Ebers eventually served as vice president of the museum’s board, but resigned in 2018 over tensions regarding longtime New Museum director Lisa Phillips’s salary negotiations, according to a 2020 report by the New York Times.
In 2018, Ebers launched two artist residency programs—one in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, the other in the Italian village of Chiusure. The Bushwick location was designed by architect Florian Idenburg, who spearheaded the realization of SANAA’s design for the New Museum in 2008, and opened in 2021 with a survey of Berlin-based artist Grada Kilomba under the artistic directorship of Ruth Estévez. Ebers imagines the Bushwick space as an “art campus” influenced by the industrial surroundings while the Italian location emphasizes the idyllic. “It’s not about having a collection space,” she told ARTnews in 2018. “I want to focus on the artists.”