BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

The Shorties are concise texts in which the authors of the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors were given the freedom to delve a little deeper into a range of topics concerning collecting and collectors.

In the text below Christiane Meixner looks at the concept of special initiatives funded by private collectors, which allow artists to create autonomously and without giving thought to the possible selling potential of the work. These private project-rooms are popping up more and more with one of the latest additions orchestrated by super-collector Frank Cohen in collaboration with Nicolai Frahm.

"Most of them could easily fill their own exhibition halls with art they have acquired. But collectors like Janelle and Alden Pinnell, in Dallas, or Ziba Ardalan de Weck, in London, pursue other goals: they fund and finance spaces and provide them to artists and exceptional projects. The interests often overlap, of course. Artists that exhibit in Pinnells’ Power Station or at West London Projects, an initiative founded by Maddalena and Paolo Kind, are often also represented in their private collections. The real intention of such initiatives is to offer a space where artists can work a bit more freely and playfully than they usually do in institutions or galleries. This is a free space in the art world where most dealers expect an artist’s consistent, recognizable handwriting; the work is otherwise difficult to sell. This time-out for all sides is often financially supported by the collectors. The Power Station is a carefully restored factory building from the 1920s. Parasol Unit in London, founded in 2004 by Ziba Ardalan de Weck, offers family days alongside philosophical debates. Participation is also the key in financial matters: the foundation is always looking for supporting members. Here, the private project-room has long had the qualities of an art institution. Such examples point the way forward: now even a super-collector like Frank Cohen has a newly awaked desire to contribute. In spring of 2013 he opened the project space Dairy Art Center in London-Bloomsbury together with the art collector Nicolai Frahm. The concept is to show works by young or established artists next to those who have found themselves wrongfully neglected."

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 (67)

Wilhelmina Jewell Strong - Sparks

Founder of BiTHOUSE Projects - BAAR Art Journey


Collector behind the ARNDT Collection

Sandra Guimarães

Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear

Grazyna Kulczyk

Founder of Muzeum Susch


Interview with Georgie Pope and Eleonora Sutter, Co-founders

Kamiar Maleki

Director at VOLTA

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022

Tokini Peterside

Founder and Director, ART X Lagos


Founding Director of the Athens Biennale

Boris Ondreička

Artistic Director of viennacontemporary

Maribel Lopez

Director of ARCO

David Gryn

Founder and Director of Daata

Fondation Beyeler Audiovisual Broadcast

Fondation Beyeler and Nordstern Basel present Dixon x Transmoderna

Gary Yeh

Founder of ArtDrunk and Young Collector

WATCH: The Best of the BMW Art Guide

Where will you travel next to explore art?

Maike Cruse

2020 Gallery Weekend Berlin

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

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

Caroline Vos

Director at Amsterdam Art Weekend

Hidden Collections

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Nicole Berry

Executive Director of The Armory Show

Daniel Hug

Fair Director at Art Cologne

The Role of the Art Fair

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

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

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

Shoe Smudges Streaked Across the White Walls

by Christiane Meixner

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