Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

The Shorties are concise texts in which the authors of the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors were given the freedom to delve a little deeper into a range of topics concerning collecting and collectors. 

In the text below Christiane Meixner looks at the concept of special initiatives funded by private collectors, which allow artists to create autonomously and without giving thought to the possible selling potential of the work. These private project-rooms are popping up more and more with one of the latest additions orchestrated by super-collector Frank Cohen in collaboration with Nicolai Frahm.

"Most of them could easily fill their own exhibition halls with art they have acquired. But collectors like Janelle and Alden Pinnell, in Dallas, or Ziba Ardalan de Weck, in London, pursue other goals: they fund and finance spaces and provide them to artists and exceptional projects. The interests often overlap, of course. Artists that exhibit in Pinnells’ Power Station or at West London Projects, an initiative founded by Maddalena and Paolo Kind, are often also represented in their private collections. The real intention of such initiatives is to offer a space where artists can work a bit more freely and playfully than they usually do in institutions or galleries. This is a free space in the art world where most dealers expect an artist’s consistent, recognizable handwriting; the work is otherwise difficult to sell. This time-out for all sides is often financially supported by the collectors. The Power Station is a carefully restored factory building from the 1920s. Parasol Unit in London, founded in 2004 by Ziba Ardalan de Weck, offers family days alongside philosophical debates. Participation is also the key in financial matters: the foundation is always looking for supporting members. Here, the private project-room has long had the qualities of an art institution. Such examples point the way forward: now even a super-collector like Frank Cohen has a newly awaked desire to contribute. In spring of 2013 he opened the project space Dairy Art Center in London-Bloomsbury together with the art collector Nicolai Frahm. The concept is to show works by young or established artists next to those who have found themselves wrongfully neglected." 

Christiane Meixner has been working as a freelance art critic since 1986 for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Since 2008 she has also served as a freelance editor of Der Tagesspiegel’s „Art & Market“ section.

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