BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Paul P., "Civilization Coordinates", 2015. Courtesy the artist; Broadway1602, New York; Maureen Paley, London
Paul P., "Civilization Coordinates", 2015. Courtesy the artist; Broadway1602, New York; Maureen Paley, London

What was the first piece of artwork you collected and when?

The first major piece was an oil painting by Canadian Jack Bush, one of his integral "Sash" series called "Mainly Tan". We purchased it in, I believe, 1997.

Why do you collect?

We have never really thought of ourselves as "collectors", whatever that complicated description might mean, and it means different things to different people. From the beginning, we were enticed by living with striking things in our home, usually things that had a deeper significance to historical or contemporary culture. As it happens, the more we learn and see, the more we want to learn and see. It is important that we really like the things we end up acquiring, and not necessarily that they fit a certain "collection".

Abraham Cruzvillegas, "Autocontusión", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Art en Valise , Toronto
Abraham Cruzvillegas, "Autocontusión", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Art en Valise , Toronto
Abraham Cruzvillegas, "Autocontusión", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Art en Valise , Toronto
Abraham Cruzvillegas, "Autocontusión", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Art en Valise , Toronto

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

The opening of Scrap Metal was really a spontaneous decision that arose when we created an extra storage location for the collection. Having access to a large blank space enabled us to install larger and more conceptual works that we were unable to view in our own home. For example Miroslaw Balka's “Heaven 68 x” (200x8x8) or Ragnar Kjartansson's five film installation, “The End”. We decided to open our doors now and then and see what would happen. It turns out that many people come to visit the gallery and that Scrap Metal possibly fills a void in the Toronto artistic community, sitting somewhere between larger public institutions and the private home. Much of our success as an exhibition space is the result of our director/curator, Rui Mateus Amaral, who, taking inspiration from the collection, is devising interesting and provocative exhibitions. Also, collaborations with organizations such as the CONTACT Photography Festival TIFF Future Projections and Art en Valise connect Scrap Metal to even larger audiences. It is this engagement with the community, both local and beyond, that supports our decision to open the gallery. We are so happy when people come to see what we are up to!

Installation view of "Somebody, Everybody, Nobody", 2015
Installation view of "Somebody, Everybody, Nobody", 2015
Installation view of "Somebody, Everybody, Nobody", 2015
Installation view of "Somebody, Everybody, Nobody", 2015

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

If one were to reflect on our program at Scrap Metal over the past five years, you might gather that our collection is built around particular themes or concepts, but in fact, our impulse to acquire a work of art is based on instinct, a moment of affect. We acquire what we love and trust that certain connections between works will reveal themselves over time...or not.

Who are the artists you are currently following?

We follow a number of artists, and within our collection one will find that many artists are represented through a number of acquisitions. Artists such as Miroslaw Balka, Mark Lewis, Annette Messager and Lois Andison come to mind. Most recently our attention has been drawn to works by Liz Magor, Yngve Holen, Paul P. and Camille Henrot.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?

We really enjoy the company of artists and continue to maintain relationships with many of them. Of course, this is easier with artists such as Lois Andison or Ken Nicol who are here in Toronto where we are based, but we often have memorable moments with someone like Ryan Gander or Ragnar Kjartansson when we can.

Ryan Gander, "Creative Play May Entail Some Risk Taking", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London
Ryan Gander, "Creative Play May Entail Some Risk Taking", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London
Ryan Gander, "Creative Play May Entail Some Risk Taking", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London
Ryan Gander, "Creative Play May Entail Some Risk Taking", 2016. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London
Collecting duo Joe Shlesinger & Samara Walbhom, 2016
Collecting duo Joe Shlesinger & Samara Walbhom, 2016

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

We are always inspired by the private collections in Venice, particularly François Pinault's collection that is made visible through programming at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana. The Prada Foundation in Milan is an incredible place! Rui is fond of the program at the David Robert's Art Foundation in London as well as the Leal Rios Foundation is Lisbon. There are so many! The David Mirvish Collection here in Toronto is something to see and the Rennie Collection in Vancouver is always thoughtfully presented and considered.

All images courtesy Scrap Metal Gallery, Toronto

More Information on Scrap Metal Gallery

Collectors (56)

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

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

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

The Vague Space

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

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

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

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

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