The philanthropist and collector Sydney Holland is a force in the Los Angeles arts community. She sits on the boards of The Hammer and MOCA. At MOCA, she underwrote the major Doug Aitken retrospective. Her own collection began with a piece by Marilyn Minter and has grown to include works by Richard Avedon, Tracey Emin, Olafur Eliasson, Jon Rafman, and Ed Ruscha.
Whitewaller spoke with Holland about what speaks to her, and about the emerging collector scene in Los Angeles.
WHITEWALLER: How did you start collecting?
SYDNEY HOLLAND: From a young age I’ve had an affinity toward art. As soon as I was in a position to start collecting, my first purchase was an iconic photograph by Marilyn Minter. This piece truly ignited my desire to be a collector. The ability to have such beloved pieces as a part of my everyday life, hanging in my home, was thrilling to me.
WW: Do you still have the Marilyn Minter work?
WW: Is it important to you that your collection has a focus? If so, how would you describe it?
SH: I collect what I love. From emerging Los Angeles–based artists to Warhols, I buy what speaks to me.
WW: Are there artists whose work you collect in depth?
SH: Andy Warhol, Wes Lang, Ed Ruscha.
WW: What artists are really exciting you at the moment?
SH: I just discovered L.A.-based artist Max Hooper Schneider’s work. His first solo museum show was just on view at The Hammer. His work really connects to me, and I always love supporting local L.A. artists.
Siri Kaur is another artist who recently came onto my radar, and I am really excited to watch her continue to grow and evolve. Her work is both exciting and evocative. Lily Stockman is another artist I am into lately.
WW: What is a recent show or work you’ve seen that you’re still thinking about?
SH: The recent small-scale Lisa Yuskavage paintings that were featured at David Zwirner’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach last December. Robin F. Williams’s show at my friend Esther Varet’s gallery, Various Small Fires, last year was also super memorable.
WW: How would you describe the collector community in Los Angeles?
SH: L.A. has a robust community of young art collectors, probably one of the biggest cities where people in their twenties and thirties are collecting as much art as more established collectors. I think this is because it’s a really exciting time in Los Angeles, as the emerging artist market is booming. Therefore, you have some really interesting new talents coming onto the scene that make collecting at a young age desirable and also doable.
WW: Where is your favorite off-the-beaten path place to see art in L.A.?
SH: ICA LA, The Underground Museum, Joan Los Angeles.
WW: What are you looking forward to seeing and doing in L.A. during Frieze this month?
SH: Of course, the Frieze art fair! I bought two paintings in the opening hours last year, one that will be gifted to a local museum. This year I’m looking forward to seeing works by Julie Mehretu at Marian Goodman’s booth, Alvaro Barrington at Sadie Coles, as well as Hauser & Wirth’s presentation of Nicole Eisenman. I’m also especially excited to see Cyprien Gaillard’s exhibition at Sprüth Magers. He was a Hammer Projects artist in 2013, and I collect his work to this day.