Patrons have long played a pivotal role in the art world by influencing trends in art collecting and by championing the career longevity of iconic and emerging artists. Unbound by the bureaucracy of institution based collecting, patrons are empowered to acquire and commission art projects based upon passion, instinct, strategic investment and emotional connection. From entrepreneurs, philanthropists and donors—who in some cases practice art themselves—we reveal the figures whose remarkable benefaction continues to elevate the significance of art, design and architecture on a global scale.
Photo by Don Arnold
Image 01. Lightning Dreams: The Electrum at Gibbs Farm Documentary (2011) Asklabs Documentary Film.
Gibbs spent three decades collecting art prior to launching one of the world’s most prominent sculptural parks in 1991. The sculpture park is sprawled across his 1,000 acre Auckland property and exhibits works from over 22 artists, including Anish Kapoor and Richard Serra. The works are mostly site specific commissions, usually taking three to four years to develop and install, with Gibbs noting that “nearly everything here is the biggest artwork the artist has ever done”.
Image 02. Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images.
Once considered the most powerful man in the art world, the French businessman and Christie’s auction house owner is set to share his mammoth €1.2 billion collection with the public at Bourse de Commerce in 2018, a contribution described as “an immense gift to the heart of Paris” by Mayor Anne Hidalg. Pinault will oversee the Bourse in tandem with his two Venice museums Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana. As the former CEO of fashion conglomerate Kering, Pinault also owns online art collection platform The Pinault Collection Magazine, as well as an artist residency in France.
Image 03. Photo by Peter Braig.
In 2009, South African graphic designer Judith Neilson and her then-husband Kerr Neilson, a billionaire funds manager, converted a Rolls-Royce factory in Sydney into White Rabbit Gallery. Housing over 1,000 artworks owned by Neilson, the site boasts the biggest stable of post 2000 contemporary Chinese art outside of China. A stones throw from White Rabbit lies Phoenix Gallery; a new project comprising of a performance space, exhibition space and sculpture garden, that will interlink visual and performance art.
Image 04. Photo by Don Arnold.
Through Kaldor Public Art Projects, the Hungarian fabric dealer has devoted 45 years towards producing some of the most iconic art projects staged in Australia. His transformative 13 Rooms in 2013 turned little known Brisbane performance duo Clark Beaumont into art stars after casting them alongside artistic heavy weights Marina Abramovic and John Baldessari. Kaldor has bestowed over 200 works worth $35 million to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, recognised as one of the largest donations in the institution’s 140-year history.
Image 05. Photo courtesy of The Keir Foundation.
For the past 12 years the former Rolling Stones publisher has donated more than $250,000 to support cross-disciplinary synergies between artists, choreographers, producers and human rights organisations. In 2013 the Keir Foundation teamed up with Underbelly Arts to launch the first crowdfunding campaign of its kind in Australia. The campaign raised $16,500 towards new arts projects and earned the alliance a Creative Partnerships Program Award. Keir has also held roles as Associate Director of the Sydney Theatre Company and Chairman of the Biennale of Sydney.
Image 06. Photo by Rineke Dijkstra, courtesy of the Rubell family.
DONALD AND MERA RUBELL
American husband and wife duo Donald and Mera Rubell are considered Miami art royalty. Their journey began shortly after their marriage in 1964 when they began collecting art, and played an intrinsic part in launching Art Basel Miami Beach in 2001. Through Donald’s brother—a Studio 54 co-owner—they were exposed to an art crowd that included young Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cindy Sherman. As a result, the Rubells focused on emerging artists, buying one artwork a week for several decades, eventually growing one of the biggest private contemporary art collections in North America.
Image 07. Photo copyright 2016 T&C Film Zurich.
Regarded as the world’s largest private collector of Chinese art, Uli Sigg gifted more than 1,500 pieces to the M+ museum, slated to open in Hong Kong in 2019. The Swiss diplomat also established the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards (CCAA) to honour artists’ achievements. One of the CCAA recipients, Zhou Tiehai, reflected on Sigg’s influence: “Chinese contemporary art would look very different if not for him and so would my life. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to buy a house without him collecting my works.”
Neue Luxury • Issue 7 • Art • Feature • BY Mariam Arcilla SHARE
When it comes to the world of niche and artisanal perfumery, it’s easy to obsess. As perhaps one of the most elegant and esoteric nomenclatures of art and science, haute perfumery has the ability to bottle the very best of artistic human endeavour.
WHAT DO YOU COLLECT AND WHY?
Doesn’t everyone collect something? In an age of ephemeral digital exchange and parallax social engagement, it’s always interesting to pause for a moment and understand if people still collect and why.
MASTERS OF HOROLOGY
There is a word in Sanskrit—‘kalpa’—which means the passing of time on a grand, cosmological scale. Native speakers uphold that the movement of celestial bodies can be observed only during meditative transcendence. Horology might be a noble science, but the watchmakers on this list, who approach their work with temerity and lyricism, prove that the tradition holds something divine.