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An Art Collector's Interview with Jack Cohen

Art Collector
Art Collector
An Art Collector's Interview with Jack Cohen
Jack Cohen

Jack Cohen

Jun 15, 2023

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Lima-Peru went to College in the USA at Cornell University and studied Industrial Engineering. Went back to Peru after graduating and stayed until today. I now work in the fashion industry, primarily Sourcing Garments for USA Luxury Brands such as Coach, Kith, Veronica Beard, Eileen Fisher amongst others.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What was your first experience with art?

When I was 10 years old and met Salvador Dali and Gala at the St Regis in NYC, this encounter impacted me for life, he even signed and dedicated a book for me. This marked the beginning of my curiosity for art.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How did it shape your interest in collecting?

I started collecting at a very young age and my taste has been maturing and changing over the last decade. I went through a phase of Photography this came about when I became part of the Board of Acqusitions at the Whitney Museum in NYC, then Geometric Abstraction, and a few years ago figurative painting, obsessing with emerging artists, primarily Women Artists. I had a very rough time with COVID 19 back in March 2020, when I was in Peru and was actually entubated for 2 weeks, but was lucky enough to survive. Going through this experience also moulded my eye for art. I was more and more inquisitive about younger interesting artists and spent hours and hours during the confinement looking at art in social media.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What inspired you to start collecting art?

I love art period, collecting was just a natural process that grew in time.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What was the first piece you collected?

Obviously a Dali print (all I could afford) which I ultimately gave to my Mother on Mothers Day.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How long have you been collecting art?

For over 40 years, but more seriously the last 20 years.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How has your collection or type of work you collect evolved over time?

I think humans as they grow older start seeing things in a different manner, life has a way of shaping our taste and appreciate art details that would have gone unnoticed. So my collecting started with Modern Art with just some examples; Louise Nevelson, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman moving to Photography: Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, Juergen Teller, Alex Prager, shifting to Geometric Abstraction; Jorge Eduardo Eielson, Alfred Jensen, Lolo Soldevilla, Sandu Darie, Waldo Balart; and ultimately ending where I am now with Emerging Contemporary Artists such as Anastasia Bay, Jessie Mockrin, Emily Weiner, Yoora Lee, Otis Kwame Quaicoe, Camilla Engstrom, Laura Berger, Genesis Belanger, Amy Lincoln, Kyle Dunn, Matt Hansel, Danielle Orchard, Justin Liam O´Brien, Susumu Kamijo, Robin F Williams, Angela Heisch, Alicia Adamerovich, Talia Levitt, Owen Rival, Jordi Ribes, Jason Boyd Kinsella, Cindy Bernhard, Will Fice, Kara Joslyn, Molly Green, Baldur, Nicasio Fernandez, Alejandro Cardenas, Brian Calvin. And I'm leaving out hundreds of other talented, amazing artists which probably will be angry with me (sorry guys).

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Tell us a bit about your collection - What artists or types of art do you gravitate towards?

My collection and my taste are absolutely unfocused and eclectic, but in the chaos I find an order. I love Art Deco and the simplicity of that era, so I have several Deco pieces mixed with modern and contemporary Art.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Tell us a bit about a few of your favourite or recent acquisitions/additions to your collection? And the artists whose work you have collected.

I have acquired a few incredible new pieces and I don't want to say that one or another is my favorite: Tania Marmolejo, Antonio Ballester, Ryan Schneider, Arjen, Matthew Tom and many others.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What drives you to collect/makes you passionate about collecting art?

Love art, period… whether its my taste or not, I love to see Antique shops galleries, museums, fairs, Instagram… it is my Disney.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What is your criteria for selecting a work of art? What do you consider to be the most important factors when selecting or evaluating an artwork?

First its my eye, my gut... There are artists I immediately relate to and there are others that I need to have them grow on me. Ultimately in both cases what prevails is my eye.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Do you collect with a theme or particular goal in mind?

Absolutely not, I collect what I love, no sense or rhythm. Its just what I like.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Is an artist's professional trajectory or career an important factor or would you collect a piece simply because you love it?

Both things are important, at times the career validates what my heart says, however most of the time its just what I love…

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Do you work with art advisors or other art professionals to help select or source artwork? Do you think that is important?

Yes, I do and I find them amazing, one cant be everywhere, and once an Advisor knows what you like the synergy created becomes essential to continue your knowledge and growth as a Collector

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Do you buy art in auctions, or follow auction results? How influential is that to your collecting, if at all?  What do you look for when attending an art fair or an auction?

Yes, I purchase a few pieces at Auctions, but mainly I purchase through Galleries and Art Fairs. Auction results are at times very imprecise and create false illusions to Galleries, Artists and specially Collectors.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Is there a particular message or style you look for when collecting art? Are there any particular themes or subjects that you’re drawn to when collecting art?

As I mentioned my vision and interest has been changing and so has what I look for. But my main attraction when looking at art is to find uniqueness on the artist. This is essential for my collection.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Are there any artists whose work you have collected multiple pieces of? If so, why?

Not so much, I usually only buy 1 piece, not a hoarder or a greedy collector.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How did you first become aware of the artists whose work you’ve collected? / Where do you discover artists?

Mostly now through Instagram, Art Advisors and Gallery Emails, but I must admit 80% through Instagram.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How or where do you purchase your artwork?

Galleries and Art Fairs

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What challenges have you faced when collecting artwork?

The main challenge working with some Galleries is demonstrating you are a serious collector and that you are not bullshitting your way around. When they ask about your collection its a bit strange, you must prove yourself worthy of that artist or Gallery. Not so cool.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What has been the most rewarding experience from collecting art?

Looking at the Art in my house, its just incredible, and of course being asked to write about my Collection at ARTCOLLECTORNEWS.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What do you look for when viewing an artist’s portfolio?

I love to see where they have shown galleries or Museums, and if available, who else collected the artist.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Are there any specific techniques or mediums that you are drawn to when collecting art?

Right now paintings are my weakness.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What kind of relationship do you have with the artists whose work you collect?

Most of the artists I know either personally or thru IG or Emails, I would have loved to meet them all, but it is a very difficult task.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Who are some of the artists that you have your eye on, and looking forward to seeing more work from? Or perhaps looking to collect in the near future.

Emily Mae Smith, a painting by Jessie Mockrin (already have an amazing drawing), and a few others

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What do you think the art world will be like in the future, e.g: ten years time?

The world is moving faster and faster and trends that used last decades are getting shortened by the amount of information that we are exposed to. I would hope that a slowdown would be amazing so that we can see an organic instead of an exponential growth.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting an art collection?

Collect with your heart, don't believe in buying as an investment, most of the times you will be disappointed. Be rewarded by having art that you love, instead of art that you price.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Please tell us if there are any other important factors about your collection or collecting style or anything else you feel that we may have missed. As well as any other thoughts you wish to share.

I have always collected wholeheartedly and the Galleries, Artists, Advisors Collectors and Friends that know me have always seen this. I authentically love art and specially love sharing it with others.


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