BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Lord David Cholmondeley

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn, Great Britain

Lord David and Lady Rose Cholmondeley, Houghton Hall archives
Lord David and Lady Rose Cholmondeley, Houghton Hall archives
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist, Pete Huggins
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist, Pete Huggins

What do you value and pursue as your responsibilities as a “collector”?

I like the idea of keeping a family collection relevant by bringing in work of our own time; and artists of course rely on collectors to buy or commission their work. I have found they especially enjoy site-specific commissions, as they are not always given this opportunity.

Had you been collecting contemporary art on a personal level, before desiring to activate Houghton Hall, a historical Palladian estate and your family home,­­ as an art space that is open to the public?

The house and grounds have been open since 1976, and the idea of bringing in contemporary art came at the end of the 1990s from an encounter with the American light artist, James Turrell. Our first site-specific work at Houghton Hall was a Skyspace by Turrell, and soon after I asked Richard Long to create a piece for the grounds using slate.

Through your foundation, you aim “for Houghton to become a focus for those who wish to see great art of our time in a historic setting”. How does this take shape?

There are really very few places in the UK where one can see contemporary sculpture outside. There are many sculpture parks in Europe and the United States, but I felt there was a need for this, especially in East Anglia, where there are relatively few contemporary collections.

James Turrell, Raemar Magenta
James Turrell, Raemar Magenta
Jeppe Hein, Waterflame
Jeppe Hein, Waterflame

In 2015, James Turrell was selected for the first site-specific and solo exhibition commission at Houghton, with five commissions of British heavyweights following this. Opening today (Friday, October 22) is the latest commission, presenting Chris Levine, "528 Hz Love Frequency". How do you select the artists for these shows?

Exhibitions do not always include special commissions, although we have been able to commission work from James Turrell and Richard Long. Most of our site-specific commissions are for single works, as with Jeppe Hein’s Waterflame or Anya Gallaccio’s Sybil Hedge. A show will often come together at the last minute, which in practical terms means a few months before opening.

Private collecting is deeply personal, as you have mentioned to us before, there is no selection committee behind it. What is it about the work of Chris Levine that touches you personally? What are you most looking forward to as part of this exhibition?

I have been very fortunate that many of the artists I admire have also liked the idea of exhibiting at Houghton; so for the moment, things have fallen into place very conveniently.

I immediately liked Chris Levine’s slow-moving laser work when I first saw it about 12 years ago; it has a meditative quality and is very beautiful. His holographic portraits are also extraordinary. The most exciting piece in our show is probably the Molecule of Light, which is a bright red orb standing as high as the house; when struck by lasers it seems to be spinning around in the air.

Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist, Pete Huggins
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist, Pete Huggins
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Michael Fung
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Michael Fung
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, Installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist. Photo Michael Fung
Chris Levine, 528 Hz Love Frequency at Houghton Hall, Installation view, 2021. Courtesy the artist. Photo Michael Fung

Do you already have in mind, or even initial planning, who you will present for Houghton’s 2022 commission?

We have a new commission in the park by Claudio Parmiggiani; a 16 metre high marble column twisting towards the sky. However, we have no large-scale show confirmed for next year.

What would you like to see shift in the Art World post pandemic?

I would like more funding for schools to be able to visit exhibitions and museums

What is a beautiful moment from Houghton Arts Foundation, or your life as a collector that you would like to share with us?

I love the moment an artist sees their work in a different setting – and sometimes better than it has ever looked.

One moment I shall never forget was the evening Richard Long finished his huge slate sculpture in the park. As he laid the last few slabs, we saw the moon rising above the trees behind us, illuminating the scene. He called the piece Full Moon Circle.

Which publicly accessible private collections would you recommend visiting?

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is of course the ‘gold standard’, and should be on everyone’s list. Abroad, I have been most impressed by Château La Coste, with its incredible setting near Aix-en-Provence, high standard of artwork and amazing restaurants.

However, I have not managed to visit so many other sculpture parks.

Richard Long, Full Moon Circle
Richard Long, Full Moon Circle

Images courtesy Houghton Hall.

More Information on Houghton Hall

Collectors (62)

Nadia & Rajeeb Samdani

Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Galila Barzilaï-Hollander

Galila's P.O.C., Brussels, Belgium

Martin Margulies

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse – Miami, United States of America

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Rik Reinking

WAI - Woods Art Institute, Wentorf bei Hamburg, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show