Dara Zhukova profiled in the New York Times
Carol Vogel’s examination of Dara Zhukova (left, in a photo by Jonathan Worth) and her role in the Contemporary art market does a nice job of capturing the young diletante’s appeal. That’s why we call her The Face (of the art market.) The Garage opening party is only part of the equation but an important part:
“It took chutzpah for Dasha to put on an event and attract so many people,” said Oliver Barker, head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s in London. “It shows how seriously they’re taking her.”
Though the most important question remains what effect the Russian taste will have on the art market:
And until recently, market experts say, they were primarily interested in the decorative arts. In 2004, for instance, the Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg spent about $100 million for the entire Forbes family Fabergé collection, a purchase that included 9 imperial Easter eggs and some 180 other pieces. Then about five years ago, some of those Russian collectors widened their sights to mostly Russian-born artists, like Chagall. “They skipped over everything else,” Mr. Pissarro said.
Since then, he said, the tide has turned. They “started to collect Impressionist, Modern and contemporary art at a speed that is absolutely astonishing,” he said. “Now they’re going outside of Russia, buying artists like Jeff Koons. The pendulum has swung 180 degrees, with Russians becoming one of the most powerful forces in the market.”
The tastes of rich collectors from the former Soviet republics tend to be unpredictable. The goal seems to be to snap up whatever is perceived at the moment to be the best, from a much-admired Picasso painting to a work by the hot Scottish-born artist Peter Doig.
“The whim factory is something quite amazing,” Mr. Pissarro said. “They can change directions at the speed of lightning.”
And what Zhukova’s role will ultimately be, remains to be seen:
Ms. Zhukova herself acknowledges being a relative art neophyte. “I didn’t study art history and don’t remember names of artists,” she said, her perfect English tinged faintly by a Russian accent. “But if I like an image, I remember it.”
Petite and striking, with long brown hair and big eyes, she cultivates a purposely understated appearance; blue jeans, T-shirts and ballet slippers are her uniform. Yet she is poised and self-assured as she describes trying to navigate the often treacherous waters of the art world.
Russian and Rich: Art’s New Tastemaker (The New York Times)