“My personal interests and [my collection] primarily revolve around contemporary art and photography, so that is where I have had the most involvement and the most influence at the museum,” Ingrassia said. “Arnold Lehman, the director at the Brooklyn Museum, has been an encouraging mentor to me, so it is nice to be able to give back a little.”
Her taste has left its mark on the museum both in its fundraising events, and in its galleries. “A couple years ago, an artist who I have followed and collected, Amy Sillman, was featured in a show of working Brooklyn artists,” Ingrassia said. And she has recently made plans to donate a photograph by Ana Mendieta to the museum’s new Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art, scheduled to open this spring.
My First Acquisition: The first painting I bought was from a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, where I was a graphic design student. I bought it in 1988 for $250. It is a great painting, and it now hangs in my little boy's bedroom. I guess I had an early awareness of painting and photography, being in art school, which prompted my decision to collect—that and having a supportive husband who encouraged my habit.
My Most Recent Acquisition: I recently purchased a Tal R painting from Zach Feuer. Tal is an Isreali/Danish artist working in Berlin. I have followed his work for a few years now, and I feel that this [painting] is [from] a great group of work [that is] full of color and made with paint straight from the tube. I also recently purchased a video piece by Julian Opie for my husband's birthday—a sexy woman walking. He loves it.
My Collecting Philosophy: I collect works that I want to see in my home. I probably should give more attention to a specific direction, but for the moment, I buy work that I enjoy seeing every day. I am usually drawn to great color and composition with graphic qualities. Donald Baechler is a great example of an artist who masterfully combines graphic and painterly collage. I own several of his works.
The Anchor in My Collection: When I decided to really get serious about collecting, I called Paul Kasmin and asked him to help me find a Jean Michel Basquiat, an artist I have always loved. The paintings were out of reach, but he found a great drawing that is a self-portrait. I love the amazing line quality of the piece and the way it works so well with my other, more painterly works.
The Scope of My Collection: I concentrate on contemporary work by living artists, but I have two spectacular drawings by Picasso and Matisse that are quite nice to live with. My good friend, photo dealer Janet Borden, introduced me to vintage Lee Friedlander photographs [which I also collect].