A Peek Inside the Elite Homes of the Art World

Emilee Geist

Like a hand-colored atlas or a lavish birding guide, For Art’s Sake: Inside the Homes of Art Dealers ($85; rizzoliusa.com) hints at the riches of a larger experience—in this case, the international art circuit—without nudging the reader off the couch. Venezuelan-born collector Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian convinced prominent gallerists, including Paula […]

Like a hand-colored atlas or a lavish birding guide, For Art’s Sake: Inside the Homes of Art Dealers ($85; rizzoliusa.com) hints at the riches of a larger experience—in this case, the international art circuit—without nudging the reader off the couch. Venezuelan-born collector Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian convinced prominent gallerists, including Paula Cooper, Marian Goodman and Barbara Gladstone, to open their homes for the book. “I wanted to see how major art dealers became who they are,” Atencio Demirdjian says, “and what art they privilege.” As chair of the Guggenheim museum’s International Director’s Council and the Latin American acquisition committee at the Tate, Atencio Demirdjian is a regular at exhibition openings and global fairs, and she’s known most of her subjects for years.

GREAT WALL From left: Rirkrit Tiravanija’s 2004 work Untitled (where is Jack Goldstein) and Rob Pruitt’s 2001 Keeping Warm are displayed in Gavin Brown’s Harlem house.© Rob Pruitt, 2020; © Rirkrit Tiravanija, 2020.



Photo:

JEAN-FRANCOIS JAUSSAUD

Their collective passion for art and design is clear throughout the book, and Atencio Demirdjian makes the case that they can be adventurous decorators as well. “Look at Gavin Brown,” she says, referring to the New York–based dealer. “His house is completely pushing the boundaries. He and his wife, Hope Atherton, an artist—they’re both imaginative, experimental, very nonconformist.” Did she spot any similarities across the featured homes? “A lot of Franz West chairs,” Atencio Demirdjian says with a laugh. “I happen to love Franz West.” In a quick Q&A, she shares a few discoveries from her four-year journey in putting together For Art’s Sake.

TABLESCAPE In Paula Cooper’s Chelsea apartment, the dining area features works by, from left, Donald Judd, Jan J. Schoonhoven and Mario Merz. © 2020 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome.



Photo:

JEAN-FRANCOIS JAUSSAUD

WSJ.: What was your biggest challenge with the book?

Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian: The logistics. These people travel a lot! This was pre-pandemic. Putting their schedules together was the difficult part.

WSJ.: Was there a lot of persuasion on your end?

TAD: They were very shy, but I had a good response. They were very candid with me, I have to say.

WSJ.: Did you develop any art crushes?

WHITE SPACE At Barbara Gladstone’s home, a Rosemarie Trockel work hangs above the fireplace, with a Kai Althoff painting to the right. The chairs are by Joaquim Tenreiro. © Khai Althoff. Courtesy of the artist and Barbara Gladstone; © Rosemarie Trockel. Courtesy of the artist and Barbara Gladstone.



Photo:

JEAN-FRANCOIS JAUSSAUD

TAD: At Ivor Braka’s in London I discovered an artist I didn’t know very well, Amy Sillman. I made a few discoveries. The collections of glass and ceramics at Pierre Marie Giraud and Xavier Hufkens’s [home], Dominique Lévy, Jeanne Greenberg [Rohatyn]—I really love their collections. The small pieces—yes, I had a wonderful time.

WSJ.: You were curious about how the dealers became themselves. What did you learn?

TAD: They chose their paths because they loved art but they didn’t want to be in an office, to be a curator or teacher. They had different sensibilities, but the common denominator was their love of art.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Corrections & Amplifications
Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian is the chair of the Guggenheim museum’s International Director’s Council. An earlier version of this article said she was the chair of the museum’s Latin American acquisition committee. (Sept. 22, 2020)

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