Myriam and Guy Ullens
Private equity and food industry
‘I want my art to give me goose bumps,” Guy Ullens told the Wall Street Journal in 2013. “When I get them, I know it’s something good.” For Ullens and his wife Myriam, this originally meant Chinese classical scroll paintings from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. For the past 30 years, however, it has been modern and contemporary art from the 1970s up to the present, with a particular focus on Chinese artists. In 2008, the Ullenses opened a private museum, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), in Beijing. Since the beginning, the Ullenses have practiced a circular method of collecting—selling pieces that have matured and gained in value in order to buy the latest and greatest work on the market. Their collection has grown to over 2,000 pieces of art—sculpture, painting, installation, and video—most by emerging artists in Asia. In recent years, the couple has also been buying work by young artists from Los Angeles.