Every Art Collection Needs Space

Ten short texts, so-called Shorties, accompanied the 173 private collections presented in the first volume of the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors. These texts discussed a number of topics ranging a collectors first loan to a museum to the meaning of architecture for private museums and the emotional return of collecting. 

A number of new texts are being composed for the forthcoming second volume of the Art Guide but this does not mean that the original ten Shorties should be forgotten! Like the one below by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas about that moment when a collector realizes that he or she could fill a wall twice over with art. What to do then? 

“Every art collection needs space. And whoever buys art for more than just a wall above the sofa will quickly run into the limits of displaying art at home. Moreover, many contemporary artists work with large-scale installations or sprawling archives, or they produce videos that can only be shown as complex multi-channel projections. What do you do if your available space becomes too small for your constantly growing collection? 

Some collectors decide to hang part of their collection in the company office, whether at a business, law firm, or doctor’s office. This is how they take their first steps into semi-public. If that no longer suffices, some collectors seek to cooperate with public museums. If the quality of the collection and the conditions of the museum fit, then the collection is on permanent loan and mentioned in catalogs. This is how a collection earns institutional security. But a happy few—on which this book is focused—fulfill the dream of presenting their art collections in buildings perfectly tailored to their needs. The Munich collector Ingvild Goetz, for example, commissioned the Swiss star architects Herzog & de Meuron to construct a custom-made exhibition building to house her stellar collection. 

And the works not on display? They often go into storage—anonymous warehouses usually on the outskirts of town. But it’s crucial to make sure that the facility is absolutely secure. Not doing so had tragic results in the famed case of the British art storage facility Momart. While one facility was secure and filled with art, an attached building filled with household electronics was burglarized in 2004. Upon leaving the scene, the burglars set a fire to cover their tracks, burning the whole facility and incinerating over £50 million worth of art, including over a hundred works from the Brit Art collection of Charles Saatchi, including pieces by Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Jake & Dinos Chapman, and Chris Ofili.“


The journalist couple Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas have been writing freelance art journalism and art criticism since 1997 for a variety of national and international art magazines and newspapers.

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