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Perspectives | Issue 6

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

Playing the Gallery

January 1, 2017

Daniel Faria’s gallery is a hub for curators, collectors, critics and the artists who turn to him for representation. An indefatigable social networker, he’s been dubbed the Ambassador of Cool for his convening powers in the complex world of art. He paused from the launch of his latest exhibit of works by Jennifer Rose Sciarrino to chat with Perspectives….

How did you get into the gallery game?
I wanted to be involved with art as long as I can remember. I always loved it. As a kid in art class, everyone was better than me. But I always appreciated their art and what they could do better than me! I studied art history at university because that’s all I cared about. It was a passion.

Why do companies collect art?
Collecting and displaying art is complex. It’s part investment, part decorative, part brand statement, part prestige. For law firms, for example, the art they collect is a bit of a differentiator. It expresses their identity in a crowded market. The same is true of banks. They support the arts community and, at the same time, they engage their clients and their employees.

Is corporate art really an investment?
RBC funds an annual painting competition and they support artists early in their career. Over time, that’s helped build a tremendous and valuable collection. It’s curated professionally and it’s something they can host client events around.
At TD, for example, the collection started in the ’60s, around the time their Mies van der Rohe tower was built. They bought works by Riopelle that were very avant garde then—and worth a great deal now.

Are there trends in corporate collections?
There aren’t specific trends, but collections will be influenced by the space. When a firm expands, it will look for new pieces to fill it. They tend to play it relatively safe because it’s a shared, public space, so photographs and paintings are always in demand. Sculpture tends to be a bit fragile. There’s been a lot more video art and video installations over time. It’s a medium that’s matured and gained a lot of ground. It also reflects a modern, technology vibe. It’s also interactive and creates conversation—it’s an icebreaker.

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