Pa­trons of art, de­sign and cul­ture

Neue Luxury - - News -

By Mariam Ar­cilla

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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”

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