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Top 200 Collectors

Black-and-white portrait of a young-looking Black

Ric Whitney and Tina Perry-Whitney

Los Angeles

Media and entertainment

Contemporary art, with a focus on African-American art, Latinx art, street and graffiti art, art of the African diaspora, photography, and ceramics

Overview

Since 2012, Los Angeles collectors Ric Whitney and Tina Perry-Whitney have been amassing a collection of contemporary art that is diverse in terms of medium—installation, sculpture, painting, and photography are well represented—and artists, with works by established and mid-career artists alongside those of emerging ones, with a specific focus on collecting work by African-American, African disaporic, and Latinx artists. Among the artists showcased in the couple’s Hollywood Hills home are Genevieve Gaignard, Derek Fordjour, Nari Ward, Joe Goode, Henry Taylor, Sadie Barnette, David Shrigley, and Thinh Nguyen. They prefer acquiring art from living artists, many of whom they know personally. “All this art we live with, there’s an energy emanating from it. It is a privilege to get to buy this work and live with it,” Perry-Whitney has said.

Now a music publishing and talent management entrepreneur (Ric) and the president of Oprah Winfrey Network (Tina), the couple is well-plugged into Southern California’s creative scene and cultural patronage, with a strong social consciousness, is at the core of how they build their art collection. Tina sits on the board of California Institute of the Arts and the well-regarded alternative art space  The Mistake Room, while Ric is on the board of another nonprofit art space, LAXART.

One of their earliest acquisitions was works by Charles Gaines, whose abstract systems opened new avenues for assessing identity. Assemblages by Brenna Youngblood and paintings by Same Levi Jones are joined by more recent acquisitions like work by Jamaal Peterman (bought shortly after an online exhibition with James Fuentes in 2020) and prints by the late Chicana photographer Laura Aguilar, whose work they connected with at the artist’s landmark retrospective when it appeared at the Vincent Price Art Museum in 2017. “Her work is absolutely striking and her personal journey as an artist was impressive. She is missed,” they told ARTnews

The couple continued, “We are typically most moved by artists who create aesthetically beautiful, but often complex works that reflect the narrative of our times. Art that provides a social, economic, and/or political lens into today’s culture is particularly intriguing. For us, living with art changes your perspective on life.”

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