Agnes Gund thinks people who don’t display their art are ‘ridiculous.’ But she doesn’t explain in this Wall Street Journal interview-cum-profile how she is able to display all 2,000 works of art that she owns herself:
Ms. Gund doesn’t believe all the hype. One of her efforts this summer is to try to figure out which contemporary artists have real staying power. “A number of us got together and asked, ‘Who is going to be in the art history books? Who is going to last?’ And I think many contemporary artists are trendy” and will be forgotten, she says. She credits the high auction prices to speculation by investors. “I think [that] parking art”—without the primary intent of displaying it—“is just ridiculous, and that’s what’s happening now.”She started collecting in the late 1960s. Now, she estimates she has about 2,000 works. One of her interests is collecting art by women, and she has been trying to get museums to do the same. […]
Whoever the artist, Ms. Gund generally collects art that she finds easy on the eye. “Most of the art I have is more on the beautiful side than the violent or disturbing side,” she says. She doesn’t fill her home, for example, with works by British figurative painter Francis Bacon, known for his realistic, raw and often emotionally charged images. “I really am taken by Bacon, but I couldn’t live with Bacon,” she says.
Many German contemporary artists deal too specifically with German history, she adds, and she doesn’t find their work very attractive. “My art would be more things where I love the surface, the material and the pop art aspects,” she says. Ms. Gund also owns Lichtenstein’s 1962 colorful cartoonlike “Masterpiece,” which features a woman looking at a painting and telling a man, “Why, Brad darling, this painting is a masterpiece! My, soon you’ll have all of New York clamoring for your work!”