In 2014, the real estate executive and collector Steven Guttman debuted a new kind of art, fashion, and collections storage company—UOVO. The facilities offer climate-controlled units and client services like private viewing rooms, packing, transportation, and installation. In 2019, UOVO will open its fourth site, in Brooklyn, New York.
In advance of Art Week in Miami, where plenty of collectors will be acquiring new works that just may need to
be moved and stored, Whitewall caught up with Guttman, the Miami-based collector and founder and chairman of UOVO.
WHITEWALLER: Who is the ideal UOVO client?
STEVEN GUTTMAN: The ideal UOVO client has a passion for their collection and values its preservation above all else. They need a secure, efficient, and seamless solution for storage and services. I founded UOVO because I saw a need for a new model of storage, service, and collections management. Today, UOVO works with artists, designers, fashion houses, galleries, dealers, museums, and of course private collectors such as myself.
WW: When did you personally start collecting art? Do you remember the first piece you acquired? Do you still have it?
SG: My interest in art and design began in the 1970s when I was living in Washington, DC. My first significant art purchase was a work by Washington Color School painter Gene Davis. I no longer have that specific painting. Just recently, however, I saw a beautiful painting by Gene Davis come up at auction. I purchased the work and it now occupies a very important place in our Connecticut house. Decades later, I still feel a connection to his work.
WW: Would you say your collection has a focus?
SG: Our collection does not have a specific focus. My wife, Kathy, and I have always collected more with our heart than our head. Over the years, our interests and aesthetic tastes have evolved and expanded considerably. Our collection today includes painting, sculpture, photography, and video works that are increasingly conceptual and minimal. We love to discover exciting new artists and rediscover artists who are resurfacing in a new way.
Our apartment in Paris does have more of a focus, and there we have a large concentration of French contemporary artists as well as several works from the French movement Supports/Surfaces. We found ourselves especially drawn to the sculptural works of Toni Grand and Claude Viallat. One of my favorite acquisitions is Daniel Dezeuze’s 1974 sculpture Flexible Wood Ladder. The work appears to be made of metal, but is in fact constructed of a delicate wooden grid.
Our Miami home is a very contemporary space, and we tend to mix edgier works and recently have combined them with our newest collecting interest—Art Nouveau furniture, which looks fantastic in a modern space.
WW: What are some recent additions to the collection that you’re excited about?
SG: I’m excited about everything I acquire, so it’s hard to choose! Off the top of my head, works by Nicolas Party, Cecily Brown, Rosemarie Trockel, Lucy Dodd, and Davide Balula.
WW: How do you choose what to keep in storage and what to have in your home?
SG: We enjoy living with everything we collect, although there is only so much we can display at one time. We have found that rotating our collection regularly is a great way to find space for new works or to reinstall pieces that have been in storage for several years. I also install works from my collection in our UOVO facility, because I believe being surrounded by art brings a positive energy to office environments. And when pieces are not on view, I know they are safe and easy to access.