Inside the best private collections of contemporary art in the world

As the Marciano Foundation opens in Los Angeles, we examine 11 exceptional private collections open to the public – from a chain of art centers to a museum built into a rock face

Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, installation view. Courtesy of the Marciano Art Foundation. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

The private collection that has become a public museum may not be a new phenomenon, but it is a phenomenon that is constantly growing. According to a recent report of private art museums, more than 300 collections worldwide are accessible to the public – with over 70% of all private museums having opened since 2000.

With so many private museums holding top-notch contemporary art, how they stand out may have less to do with the art in their collections than their amenities, architecture, or location: impressive renovation projects that transform historic industrial buildings.

Beyond their often impressive exteriors, however, each private museum also functions as an extension of its founder’s personality and taste, both in the way its collection is presented and in the way it engages with it. the surrounding community. We uncovered 11 private collections you should know about, starting with an in-depth review of the new Marciano Art Foundation:

1. The Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles

Founders: Paul and Maurice Marciano

Lizzie Fitch, Ryan Trecartin, Flange, 2014. Courtesy of the Marciano Art Foundation. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

Building: Newcomer to the block is Los Angeles’ Marciano Art Foundation, which opened on May 25, and houses the contemporary art collection of the brothers and co-founders of Guess Paul and Maurice Marciano.

The Foundation was established in a former Scottish Rite Masonic temple, built in 1961, and retains many original Masonic symbols and mosaics, which invest the space with an unexpected sense of mysticism. Visiting art lovers will recognize it as the setting for the film Flange with artists Ryan Trecartin and Lizze Fitch, filmed here at the request of Marciano.

Marciano Art Foundation sculpture garden. Courtesy of the Marciano Art Foundation. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

The collection: Comprising over 1,500 works by over 200 artists, the Marciano collection is about as contemporary as it gets, focusing on art produced since 1990. Its inaugural exhibition, Unpacking, curated by Philipp Kaiser, features major site-specific installations and a solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Jim Shaw. Visitors will also see a wall-sized work by Takashi Murakami and a sculpture by Paul McCarthy which is based on a Jeff Koons. Balloon dog – echoing the inaugural exhibit of another recently opened private museum in Los Angeles, The wide.

But does Los Angeles need another private collection on public display? If ticket sales are any indicator, the answer is yes. Like The Broad, the Marciano Art Foundation is free to visit if you book in advance. However, the demand for advance tickets quickly outstripped supply; those for the months of May and June are already exhausted.

2. The wide, Los Angeles

Founders: Eli and Edythe Broad

Visitors at the entrance to the Broad. Photo: Ryan Miller.

Building: Conceived by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad is an architectural gem in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, featuring a unique trellis exterior and vaulted interior,.

The collection: The collection, which includes over 2,000 works of art, reads like a who’s who of premier post-war and contemporary art, with particularly significant collections of works by Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, Joseph Beuys and Cindy Sherman.

3. Zabludowicz collection, London

Founders: Poju and Anita Zabludowicz

The exterior of the Zabludowicz collection in London.

Building: The Zabludowicz collection is housed in a restored former Methodist chapel in North London.

The collection: One of the world’s largest contemporary art collections, the Zabludowicz features works by emerging and established artists including Francis Alÿs, Goshka Macuga, and Haegue Yang.

4. Sammlung Boros, Berlin

Founders: Christian and Karen Boros

Katja Novitskova, installation view, Boros Collection. Photo: © NOSHE.

Building: Former Nazi bunker – and former sex club – the Boros Collection has perhaps the most story-rich setting of any private collection, providing a unique context for the art on display.

The collection: Exhibitions are held every four years and are only accessible through scheduled tours. The current exhibition features artists such as Martin Boyce, He Xiangyu, Yngve Holen.

5. Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Founders: Donald and Mera Rubell

The Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Florida

Building: Located in a refurbished Drug Enforcement Agency building since 1993, the Rubell Family Collection will move soon on a 2.5-acre campus in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood, designed by Selldorf Architects.

The collection: One of the largest and most respected private contemporary art collections, the Rubell contains works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama, Kara Walker and many more.

6. Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris

Founders: Bernard Arnault, LVMH

Louis Vuitton Foundation. Photo: Iwan Baan.

Building: Designed by Frank Gehry, the Louis Vuitton Foundation looks like a glass sailboat, planted in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.

The collection: The collection contains works by Gerhard Richter, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Huyghe and others, as well as commissions from artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Taryn Simon and Olafur Eliasson.

7. Pinault collection, Venice

Founder: Francois Pinault

The Punta della Dogana in Venice, which, together with the historic Palazzo Grassi, houses the Pinault collection, Venice.

Building: Currently housed in the historic Palazzo Grassi in Venice and the Punta della Dogana, an imminent move will find the Pinault Collection relocated to the Halles de Paris in the former Bourse de Commerce.

The collection: Luxury mogul and owner of Christie’s, Pinault has amassed a collection of over 3,000 works of art by artists such as Richard Serra, Agnes Martin and Andy Warhol.

8. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul

Founders: Lee Byung-chull, Samsung Group

Leeum outside. Courtesy of Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. Photo: Kyung Sub Shin.

Building: The Leeum is made up of three museums: one dedicated to traditional Korean art, designed by Mario Botta; the second, designed by Jean Nouvel, dedicated to modern and contemporary art; and a children’s center, designed by Rem Koolhaas.

The collection: The Lee Family Collection contains Korean national treasures, as well as a treasure trove of post-war international art, from artists such as Damien Hirst and Andreas Gursky, and prominent Korean artists Kim Whanki, Nam June Paik and Do Ho Suh.

9. Contemporary art center Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil

Founder: Bernardo Paz

Inhotim is nestled in a lush botanical garden in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Building: Inhotim is located in a spectacular complex of pavilions and gardens, merging nature and contemporary art.

The collection: The collection features permanent in situ installations by artists such as Doris Salcedo, Matthew Barney and Lygia Pape, as well as strong collections of works by Brazilian artists Tunga, Rivane Neuenschwander, Cildo Meireles and international artists such as Pipilotti Rist , Paul McCarthy.

ten. MONA, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Founder: David walsh

MONA, Museum of Old and New Art. Image courtesy of the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: MONA / Rémi Chauvin.

Building: A huge museum built into a rock face, designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects; some galleries have rough sandstone walls.

The collection: MONA’s collection is in keeping with Walsh’s sense of humor and quirk, with works by Roman Signer and Jon Pylypchuk, Australian artists including Fiona Hall, and major works by Anselm Kiefer, James Turrell and Wim Delvoye.

11. K11 Artistic Foundation, Hong Kong and Shanghai

Founder: Adrien cheng

K11 Piazza, Hong Kong. Courtesy of K11.

Building: Inventing a whole new way of showing art, Cheng’s K11 Art Foundation uses pop-up spaces in shopping malls to “bring art to the masses.

The collection: More than a collection, it’s a brand. The K11 Kollection, separate from Cheng’s extensive personal collection, contains works by popular artists such as Yoshitomo Nara and Olafur Eliasson, as well as emerging Chinese artists.


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