In a profile accompanying the inauguration this year of their listing on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors, Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys talk about collecting for themselves and one another—as well as the increasingly significant cast of artists whose work they aim to support. Though their interests extend to “all colors and backgrounds,” the couple’s focus turned primarily to black artists when they realized, as Dean told writer Antwaun Sargent, “there wasn’t enough of us collecting us.” Keys agreed: “We’re young artists of color, and we really have a focus on collecting young artists of color. That’s how it goes. It’s how to lift people up. It’s how to continue the legacy.”
When ARTnews visited the couple for a photo shoot at their home in Englewood, New Jersey, Dean and Keys took time to give a tour and talk about a few favorite works hanging on their walls. Though the Dean Collection is spread out far and wide, with works in exhibitions and at other private sites, notable highlights hold pride of place in the couple’s home in an idyllic outpost a short drive across the Hudson River from New York City.
Kehinde Wiley’s much-discussed, epic, 25-foot-long painting Femme Piquée par un Serpent (2008) lives there, as does a photo-friendly wooden sculpture by KAWS that rises 19 feet from the floor in the same room. Less familiar are works by Toyin Ojih Odutola, Derrick Adams, Kajahl, and Okuda San Miguel—each of which Dean and Keys share in an episode of “ARTnews on Location.”