Chinese-American Collector Behind the Domus Collection Profiled
A young Chinese-American collector, who has taken the art world by storm, is profiled in this Wall Street Journal story here:
Five years ago, Richard Chang decided to make supporting contemporary art his "second job." Since then, the 38-year-old Chinese-American collector, who oversees investments in real estate, hotels, media and fashion for his wealthy family, has raised his international art-scene profile considerably.
He splits much of his time between New York and Beijing, where he started the nonprofit Domus Collection to educate local audiences about Western art through exhibitions. The first such show, "Roundtrip: Beijing–New York Now," was staged at the Ullens Center last year. Mr. Chang is also a key adviser to the fast-rising Hong Kong International Art Fair. Attending the fair's latest edition last weekend, Mr. Chang talked about being a global collector today. Below, an edited transcript.
"The first work I bought, in 1997, was actually a Picasso, a drawing from 1961—nothing significant. It turned out to be not such a bad choice, but it was sort of a one-off. After that, I collected mostly young, emerging artists. As you get more confident as a collector, you get bolder and start raising the stakes. Now I'm buying some works that run well into seven figures. For me, that's high. So it becomes less impulse-driven. But even if I couldn't buy art, I think I would keep an inventory of my own imaginary museum.
"Outside of my business I spend 100% of my time on art, whether with institutions, with galleries, collecting, socializing, networking—it's all art. Last year I went to 12 or 13 art fairs. And I haven't even hit the Latin American fairs yet.
"For me, collecting is also a social thing, and many of the artists I collect I've gotten to know—Damien Hirst,Anish Kapoor, Ryan Gander and Matthew Day Jackson, who is one of my favorite artists at the moment. One piece of his I own is a Hudson River School–type scene created using different types of Formica to represent the sunrays, mountains, water and everything. It's a painting made without a paintbrush. It's almost utopian kitsch—the colors are like you entered heaven or something, but underneath these surfaces the Formica is just cheap fiberboard.
"Another work I bought recently is a Damien Hirst butterfly triptych from Jay Jopling at White Cube. It's a beautiful stained-glass-window kaleidoscope about 10 feet high by almost 23 feet wide—the sheer scale is fantastic. Standing in front of it you get the full impact of what I think Damien is trying to say about religion and death and life.
"The Chinese artists I've collected include Zhang Xiaogang, famous for his 'Bloodline' paintings of Chinese families, and one not-so-famous painter, Yang Shaobin, who has been called the Francis Bacon of China. I'm also buying artists from the Middle East and India.
"Because I'm American and also Chinese, I want my collection to reflect that global nature. Maybe I'll find out one day that the world is just too big to collect so broadly. Then maybe I'll a do complete 180 and zero in on New York artists. Who knows?"