viernes, 28 de septiembre de 2018


Anna Louie Sussman
When the billionaire industrialist Mitchell Rales welcomed a crowd of journalists to preview the new $200 million expansion of his and his wife’s private museum Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland, he cited his philanthropic father, Norman Rales, as an inspiration. A former orphan who built a successful real estate company, the elder Rales left his estate to fund the education of underprivileged youth; a plaque near his grave reads “Champion for the Underdog.”

It would be hard to call his son Mitchell an underdog, given his estimated net worth of $3.7 billion (Mitchell’s brother, Steven, is worth $6.4 billion, according to Forbes). Nor are the artists that he collects with his wife—art historian and curator Emily Wei Rales, who is the director of Glenstone—in any sense. Wander through the museum’s new Pavilions, a graceful set of 11 interlocking rooms arranged around a serene water court, and you’ll see some of the most recognizable names (and works) in the post-war canon: one of Alberto Giacometti’s scrawny bronze men; a jaunty kinetic sculpture by Alexander Calder; the signature splashes of Jackson Pollock; the sensuous molten drips of Lynda Benglis.
Little else about the Pavilions, which add 50,000 square feet of exhibition space alongside Glenstone’s existing 2006 building, screams “underdog” either. But the Raleses said one way they’ve been able to assemble this collection—often described as one of the most important private collections in America—is by identifying important movements and artists while they’re still, well, if not underdogs, at least before they become art market heavyweights.
“Abstract Expressionism is over for us,” said Rales. “We did that in the ’90s….It’s unaffordable to go to art auctions and buy Warhol or Richter or Basquiat today. But fortunately, we got to these artists a very long time ago, so we’re working on things today that really aren’t at the auction houses.”

“We go with our own taste and understanding, and wait 20 years to find out if we’ve been on the right track.”
He cited On Kawara as an example of an artist they’ve been collecting deeply in the past 5 to 10 years, though he did not want to disclose who exactly is in their crosshairs today.
“Most of the things we are doing today are in the ’80s and ’90s, and living artists that are creating new work,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to talk about who it is that is front and center for us today, because we don’t want to move the markets per se….We quietly go about our business.”
Wei Rales pointed to the large gallery with a survey of artists’ work from the collection, and noted how much of it was acquired long before the movements or artists hit a market peak.
“If you take a hard look at room two and the artists that are represented there, those are projects that we’ve kind of closed the loop on,” she said. “So Gutai is an area that we did a lot of work on before it was big in the market; same with the Neo-Concrete Brazilian artists; same with Arte Povera. We were in Arte Povera long before it became a thing.”
“Slow art”

In her remarks, Wei Rales gently reminded the visitors to take their time as they moved through the collection, an approach she called “slow art.”
“We hope that you will slow down, that your pulse will also slow down, you’ll start to become aware of your breath and the changing light levels in a gallery,” she said.
Glenstone’s exhibitions remain up for a long time (the Louise Bourgeois show is on from May of this year to January 2020), and most of the shows in the pavilions are semi-permanent installations, such as the untitled Robert Gober installation from 1992. It envelops the visitor in a slightly sinister forest, bookended by bales of old newspapers juxtaposed with boxes of rat poison, lined with sinks whose taps run ad infinitum; the experience is something like undergoing Chinese water torture in a sylvan prison. It is not the kind of artwork one buys on a whim………..

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