BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Martin Creed, Work No. 329, 2004 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography
Martin Creed, Work No. 329, 2004 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?

The first work that I acquired was On Top of the World (1933) by Norman Rockwell. It was 1974, I was 18 years old. I lived in very humble surroundings. My girlfriend Mieko, who became my wife, was my inspiration to live. She was an artist and I was, in a Freudian, idealistic way, acquiring Rockwell’s picture of a boy and girl sitting on top of the world. Only two days ago I was walking through our storage facilities with a friend, looking at that very first artwork of mine, hanging high above the crates. On the same day three major recent paintings from Kerry James Marshall had just returned from a museum loan and I asked myself: how did I get from Rockwell to Marshall?

Martin Creed Work No. 851: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2008 AND Dan Graham, Two Half Cylinders, 2008 AND Thomas Houseago, Untitled Striding Figure, 1, 2007 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Martin Tessler (Detail) – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Martin Creed Work No. 851: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2008 AND Dan Graham, Two Half Cylinders, 2008 AND Thomas Houseago, Untitled Striding Figure, 1, 2007 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Martin Tessler (Detail) – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Bob Rennie on the roof of the Wing Sang building. In the background: Martin Creed, Work No. 851: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2008 AND Dan Graham. Two Half Cylinders, 2008/ Courtesy Rennie Collection
Bob Rennie on the roof of the Wing Sang building. In the background: Martin Creed, Work No. 851: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2008 AND Dan Graham. Two Half Cylinders, 2008/ Courtesy Rennie Collection

Why do you collect?

I am very interested in anything that causes us to think and more importantly, that causes us to question. Our museum is open to the public two days per week through guided tours conducted by university fine arts students participating in our Wing Sang Internship program. I want the artist’s work to not only be seen but understood and even misunderstood. My goal with guided tours is to help the viewers understand their own reactions to the work. Leaving our museum knowing why they did not appreciate Martin Creed's Work No. 1000: Broccoli Prints (2009-2010), as an example, is as important to me as having you understand why you like a work.

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

Actually, it follows many themes. Currently I collect 47 artists in extreme depth, that is, we span the artist’s career. I am not interested in owning a moment or sensation. We tend to acquire a major work (major is a relative term in context to our ability) and after taking on a major work we go back as far as we can in the artist’s career while at the same time we move forward acquiring new works slowly. Many disciplines have emerged in the collecting journey and core to the collection are social injustice, race, identity, and the fight to be understood. An example would be Mona Hatoum. There are also collections within the collection, such as photography, painting, appropriation, and dance and film, which will be a part of the fall show at our museum.

Mona Hatoum, Hot Spot, 2006 AND Quarters, 1996/ Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography
Mona Hatoum, Hot Spot, 2006 AND Quarters, 1996/ Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography
Martin Creed, Work No. 1,000: Broccoli prints, 2009-2010 AND Work No. 850, 2008 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography
Martin Creed, Work No. 1,000: Broccoli prints, 2009-2010 AND Work No. 850, 2008 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography
Martin Creed, Work No. 329, 2004 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography (Detail)
Martin Creed, Work No. 329, 2004 / Courtesy Rennie Collection, Photo: Site Photography (Detail)

Who are the artists you are currently following?

Recent acquisitions include Kerry James Marshall’s abstract/ rorschach paintings; Barkley Hendricks’ self portraits; Peter Halley’s early works; Lynette Yaidom Boakye’s portraiture; Rodney Graham’s complete Four Seasons series and Francesco Vezolli’s tapestries.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?

Mike Kelley was a friend, as are so many of the artists who have allowed us to act as custodians of their life’s work.

Rodney Graham, Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour, 2012-2013 / Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Stefan Altenburger
Rodney Graham, Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour, 2012-2013 / Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

From a strong belief that we all have a duty to give back to the education and health care of others. We should all pick a passion and share that passion through visible leadership. With the scale at which we have decided to collect comes a responsibility to the artists to share the work. We live in a city that is young and requires a broader dialogue. My life partner Carey Fouks and I decided that we would challenge ourselves in our hometown.

All images via Rennie Collection at Wing Sang

More Information on Rennie Collection at Wing Sang

Collectors (57)

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show