BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Shoe Smudges Streaked Across the White Walls

by Christiane Meixner

In anticipation of the second volume of the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors, we are looking back at the first edition. Mixed in with the portraits of the collections, we had 10 short texts, so-called Shorties, which we will be republishing here from time to time.

In this Shorty Christiane Meixner will discuss the differences between visiting a public institution and a publicly accessible private collection. She will also reveal some of the reasons why private collectors might be more inclined to guide visitors through their collection themselves.

“If you’ve ever seen the Tate Modern in London after a normal weekend, you have an idea of what its popularity entails: people eating on benches in the Turbine Hall, empty bags of chips littering the floors, and shoe smudges streaked across the white walls. The Tate is a public institution and does not charge admission to the permanent collection; and it can afford the mess: every morning, the cleaning crew comes and restores the status quo.

One can hardly request the same upkeep from a private collector. This is especially true for those who allow the public into their private venues—with its furniture, few security guards, delicate wood floors, and other particulars to consider. It’s easy to understand why private collections are more restrictive. This might include registering in advance; being guided through rooms in small groups; or the prohibition of any eating, drinking, or smoking—all no-brainers. And not being allowed to touch the objects, of course, is a rule that all public museums also hold.

What is noticeable is the occasional exclusion of children, which a few private collectors enforce. But any private collection that restricts visitors to those over the age of twelve should also not lend works to museums, which have no age restrictions at all. To such collectors one would like to recommend the Menil Collection, in Texas, whose founders believed strongly in the aesthetic power of art and wanted as many people—even the youngest among us—to share in it.”

Christiane Meixner has been working as a freelance art critic since 1986 for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Since 2008 she has also served as a freelance editor of Der Tagesspiegel’s „Art & Market“ section.

Insiders (53)

WATCH: The Best of the BMW Art Guide

Where will you travel next to explore art?

Maike Cruse

2020 Gallery Weekend Berlin

Johann König

Messe in St. Agnes

PArt - Producers Art Platform

A crisis initiative to help artists directly affected by the pandemic

Barbara Moore

CEO of Biennale of Sydney

Unique Collector’s Item

by Independent Collectors

Alix Dana

Fair Director at Independent

When Collectors are Able to Commission

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Juliet Kothe and Julia Rust

Initiators of Collection Night, Berlin

Marie-Anne McQuay

Curator of Wales in Venice, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Dorothy and Herb Vogel

Two extraordinary art collectors

Heather Hubbs

Director at NADA

Every Art Collection Needs Space

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Collecting Art with François Pinault

Rudolf Stingel at Palazzo Grassi

A Common Ground

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Caroline Vos

Director at Amsterdam Art Weekend

Hidden Collections

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Daniel Hug

Fair Director at Art Cologne

The Role of the Art Fair

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Nicole Berry

Executive Director of The Armory Show

Peter Bläuer

Director at LISTE

A Brush Against Nature

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Ilaria Bonacossa

Director of Artissima

Excessiveness, the Latent Danger of Collecting Art

by Independent Collectors

Jo Stella-Sawicka

Artistic Director at Frieze

Florence Bourgeois

Director at Paris Photo

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

Specifically Commissioned

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Manuela Mozo

Executive Director of UNTITLED, ART Miami and San Francisco

Important Museums and Private Collections

by Christiane Meixner

Susanna Corchia

Director of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Emilia van Lynden

Artistic Director at Unseen, Amsterdam

Carlos Urroz

Director at ARCOmadrid

Amanda Coulson

Director at VOLTA Basel

Douwe Cramer

Director at Singapore Contemporary

Art and Architecture – Attractive Allies

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Jo Baring

Curator of Sculpture Series, Masterpiece London

Bidders and Buyers

by Christiane Meixner

Anne Vierstraete

Managing Director at Art Brussels

Nanna Hjortenberg

Director at CHART

The Crucial Role of the New

by Independent Collectors

Makers and Believers

On Art History’s Most Famous Patrons

The Past is Back

And collectors are buying it up

Are Artists the Better Curators?

On the diminishing boundary between professions in the art world

The Digital Museum

On the importance of the museum’s web presence

The Man in the Middle

On the curator’s private and public engagements

A Private Matter?

On the importance of physical space for the value of art

Off the Wall

How museums contribute to the worth of artworks

Where to Go Next?

The fragmentation of Manhattan’s gallery scene

To Buy or Not to Buy

Collectors on their experiences of letting an artwork slip away

How to Pass On a Passion

On long-term challenges for new private museums