BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Excessiveness, the Latent Danger of Collecting Art

by Independent Collectors

The BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors is not only an extremely useful travel companion, but also gives great insight into the joys, laws and challenges of collecting. 

We have already introduced you to some topics covered in the guide in form of short texts, so called Shorties, and have the next one lined up for you.

This time it’s all about the excessiveness of collecting and what happens when a collection is bursting at its seams — an aspect that is often forgotten or is of secondary nature for many collectors. Read below to find out why it can pay off to be a skilled organizer and why it is useful to sometimes keep the invoice.

Excessiveness is the latent danger of collecting art. Quite a few collectors throw a wink and call their buying behavior “an addiction.” But not to worry: the negative side-effects of such an addiction are slight—apart, of course, from losing your invested money. Most collectors fight battles on two fronts: too little space and too little organization. The space at home is limited, in most cases, and it is rarely sufficient for installing all one’s cherished works. Some even say that one is only a “true collector” when your own four walls no longer provide enough space for all the works you own. This leads to a choice between compressing one’s collection or expanding into outside storage. When the works are no longer at your fingertips is exactly when unexpectedly complicated questions arise about their proper registration, correct documentation, and the best methods for packaging and storing—all issues that have nothing to do with why one began collecting art. This is why, even for large collections, the sword of Damocles seems to be hanging overhead, ready to unleash chaos. The only reason it doesn’t fall is because no one looks more closely or requires additional, precise information. Many collectors, for example, do not maintain invoices or certificates for artworks they purchased a decade or more ago. In such cases, specialized art historians can assist with professional analysis and organization. On the other hand, it is exactly the privilege of private collectors to not fulfill the requirements a public institution is bound to. Unlike a museum, their focus is not necessarily the optimal preservation of art, but on living with it. This appeals, of course, to many artists.

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

Jo Stella-Sawicka

Artistic Director at Frieze

Florence Bourgeois

Director at Paris Photo

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

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