The 50 Most Exciting Art Collectors Under 50 (Part 1): Page 6 of 6
The 50 Most Exciting Art Collectors Under 50 (Part 1)
Founder of the Stark Guide, a gallery-listing blog for the Bay Area contemporary art scene that seeks to connect emerging artists and collectors, Stark is also an active member and former chair of SFMoMA’s Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art. After earning a degree in art history at Berkeley, she made a career in communications at Gap Inc., where in the company’s San Francisco headquarters, she encountered the collection of company founders Don and Doris Fisher. Her own collection tends toward younger and particularly local artists, such as Nicholas Coley, Monica Canilao, and Dustin Fosnot. In addition to collecting, Stark writes about art for the San Francisco Arts Quarterly and SFArts.org and recently cochaired the 2012 Private Collections spring art tour.
After having worked at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s, Trent founded her eponymous art advisory firm in 2006. “When I first started, I looked at my collection like a stock portfolio,” she says. “I wanted to prove to my family I really knew what I was doing. Back then there were a lot of musts: must have exhibition history, must be represented by a major New York gallery, must be a good investment, etc. Now I buy with my heart. There are no rules except that I must love it and want to live with it every single day.” As an adviser, she admits to having access to “works that aren’t available to most collectors. However, I never buy a work for myself without offering it to a client first. I joke that I get all of my clients’ sloppy seconds, which are still museum quality.” She means that literally. "Twigs," her Nick Cave sound suit, is currently on loan to the Brooklyn Museum. At last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, Diddy tried to buy her Mickalene Thomas painting, but, she assures us, “nothing in my collection is for sale.”
Kai van Hasselt
Now in his 30s, Van Hasselt has been collecting since he was 18. “I had a part-time job during university as a trend watcher and that got me to a lot of cities where I could see art in museums and galleries,” he says. “I also like going to art fairs — not all collectors do, I realize.”
When he’s not collecting art, Van Hasselt fancies himself a theorist of cities, a passion that resulted in the founding of Shinsekai Analysis, a company that specializes in “cultural intelligence and urban strategies.” From 2005 to 2010 he ran a lecture series at Amsterdam’s W139 exhibition space. “I do not necessarily buy with a strategy. At first I was thinking a lot about topics and themes within (the relatively small) collection; now I do that less,” he says. “A core group of works is about transformation: from one image, material, situation, medium to another — and that theme is still there.”
Esther Kim Varet and Joseph Varet
Copresident of Plum TV and a former strategic planner for MTV, Joseph Varet has always had an interest in art. He funded the launch of Whitney Focus, the museum’s Web video platform, in 2008, is on the Capital Campaign Committee for the Whitney’s new building, and chairs the Future Leadership Council. In 2009 he met Esther Kim, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University and part-time art dealer. Married in 2011, the couple recently moved to Venice, California, where Kim Varet opened a contemporary art space — named Various Small Fires, after the Ed Ruscha book — this past January. While she finishes her dissertation on the impact of technology on the Conceptual art movement, the couple stays involved in the contemporary art world by helping to fund Performa 11 as well as projects by artists like Liz Magic Laser. Joseph Varet is also on the board of the LAXART and Artis.