David Zwirner on Taste: ‘An Obsessed Collector Will Buy the Right Painting From the Devil’

Zwirner. (Courtesy Getty Images)

David Zwirner recently sat down with the Financial Times to discuss his new London gallery, which opens this week with a show of Luc Tuymans, and he’s remarkably candid about his motivations for opening a space there, as well as the challenges that lie ahead with the new space.

The punctuation’s a bit odd but the end of this quote, which speaks about London being a gateway to markets in the Middle East and China, is clear enough: “London is a hub for rich people and rich people buy art.”

He says elsewhere:

“The most important quality as a dealer has to be your taste. If you’re insecure, that would be difficult. Social skills matter but not as much as being decisive in your vision. An obsessed collector will buy the right painting from the devil. I’ve never been interested in a unifying style, I’m interested in looking for singular voices. Luc is a great example: a singular and now a very influential voice. You can’t categorise. You grapple with the work. Sometimes you don’t like it at first, then you come back, work your way into it. If you don’t love the work, you have to respect it, understand why an artist makes decisions. We go from the extremely abstract, for example Judd, to the extremely figurative, such as Lisa Yuskavage. All are authentic figures.”

He also talks about how the market has changed to embrace bullishness over expertise. These days a collector can say “What’s Documenta?” without fear. Read the whole thing here.