A Special Relationship

With the turbulent market for emerging art having calmed slightly, greater attention has once again been placed on those collectors who fervently support and push forward the careers of the artists they’ve chosen to acquire. Museum shows and biennials wouldn’t happen without the many works that have been supported, sight unseen, owing to the lasting relationships and trust that exist between collector and artist. Varied models of patronage abound, of course. For instance, that of London supermarket heir Alex Sainsbury, whose family owns an already-enviable collection and whose father and uncles donated a wing to The National Gallery. Interested in delving deeper into contemporary art, he opened Raven Row, in 2009. Located near Whitechapel Gallery, Sainsbury’s exhibition space and residency program quickly became an important point of reference for Londoners on the lookout for new and notable contemporary artists. Collectors like Simon Franks and Robert Suss of the Franks-Suss Collection and Dominique and Sylvain Levy of the Dominique & Sylvain Levy Collection (DSLCollection), both of which are featured in the Art Guide this edition, began to support a new generation of artists from China, with the DSLCollection employing the Internet as its main exhibition venue to allow for wider access. Some collectors, like Francesca von Habsburg, take a multi-level approach. Her foundation, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), funds scores of artist projects for biennials and other exhibitions worldwide, as well as residencies and international trips for its artist-recipients. The exhibition space TBA21—Augarten, in Vienna, is also used for showcasing consistently first-class shows of supported artists. It even housed groups of the Huni Kuin indigenous people of Brazil for a three-part collaborative exhibition with artist Ernesto Neto, in 2015. Regardless of the methods they use, patrons like these are indispensible when it comes to helping make the art world spin.

What better way to really get to know the art world than by reading our Shorties! These little snippets of art world wisdom cover topics ranging from digitalization, patronage and auctions written by leading journalists from around the world.

Alexander Forbes is a New York based art writer and critic, currently serving as Artsy’s News Editor. Prior to relocating to New York, Alexander was based in Berlin as the European Editor for artnet and German Bureau Chief for Louise Blouin Media.

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