Business Insider has recently released its list of Wall Street’s 27 Most Powerful Art Collectors. However, it should probably be re-titled Wall Street’s 27 Most Powerful Men* (*who also happen to buy art among other things with their immense hoard of cash) as 9 of the 27 did not appear on the 2011 artnews list of the top 200 collectors. All 27 entries are also men with the exception of Wang Wei, the art obsessed wife of banker Liu Yiqian. Strangely, Melva Bucksbaum, the equally art obsessed wife of Raymond Learsy does not make the cut although she is listed with him on the artnews list.
Some of the selections are quite obvious as high profile hedge funder Steve Cohen made a splash in the art world when he literally jumped the shark with his purchase and subsequent refurbishment of Damian Hirst’s 13 foot long shark in formaldehyde titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. However, recently his collecting preferences may have shifted to baseball teams with interest in the NY Mets and LA Dodgers. Adam Lindemann who also has his own Hirst in the form of the medicine cabinet The Sleep of Reason as well as owning a version* of Urs Fischer’s Untitled (Lamp/Bear), a giant yellow steel teddy bear sculpture which was prominently in front of the Seagrams building in Manhattan this summer (*btw Steve Cohen also own a version in blue). Lindemenn quite literally made headlines this year as the billionaire joined the 99% with his art column in the NY Observer and his call to Occupy Art Basel Miami Beach.
Other members on the list are a little more dubious as Bruce Kovner the recently retired head of Caxton is an old school hedge fund guru who has always been quite secretive. If he is collecting anything, there is little doubt that no one would know about it. Also, the quote that Stephen Schwarzman the head of the Blackstone group “Invests more in furniture than paintings, but the word is out that he’s hunting for a good Mark Rothko” is hardly a ringing endorsement for his passion for art collecting. Other than Kovner and Schwarzman, the 7 others who made Business Insider’s list, but failed to make that of the artnews 200 are,
Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian