Discover the Artwork That Stunned Collector Geraldine Chung Into Silence
CULTURED: What do you think makes the Los Angeles art scene distinct?
Geraldine Chung: There’s been what feels like a seismic shift in terms of the art world embracing and supporting young artists from traditionally marginalized groups—Black and Brown artists, female artists, differently-abled artists, etc.
CULTURED:Do you tend to collect clothing in the same way you collect art?
Chung: 100 percent! I take the same approach really: what’s the context, what’s the backstory of the creator, is there a “there” there? Does my support of this artist or designer make a material difference to them and/or their community? Or to my community?
CULTURED:Which work in your home provokes the most conversation from visitors?
Chung: Well, everyone recognizes the Jonas Wood print of course, so that’s the first thing people tend to remark upon!
CULTURED:How do you discover new artists and/or work?
Chung: Mainly through friends – I have a super amazing cadre of women gallerists and art advisors whom I met through Michelle Pobar—now the co-director of Lisson Gallery in Los Angeles—all of whom I massively respect and adore. I’ve also started going to art fairs again, which I know can be so commercialized, but honestly it’s a really great way to discover new galleries and artists.
CULTURED:Which artist are you currently most excited about and why?
Chung: I’m super into Tidawhitney Lek, a Cambodian-American artist represented by my friends at Sow & Tailor. Figurative painting is obviously having a huge moment, and I love the energy, vibrancy, and subtle subversiveness of her work.
CULTURED:What was the most challenging piece in your personal collection to acquire?
Chung: In 2004, I went to the Whitney Museum of American Art to see the biennial and was struck silent by Catherine Opie’s haunting long-range portraits of surfers sitting atop the blue-gray waters of a hazy Malibu shoreline. Those images have never left me because they were so beautiful, but also because of the context behind the images, the way that Opie was fascinated by the different types of people who would end up sitting side by side, two dots on the ocean, but with widely varying economic and political situations. I loved the way they echoed Hiroshi Sugimoto’s minimalist ocean photographs. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined owning a “Surfers” photograph. I still don’t, but I am now acquiring my first Catherine Opie ocean landscape photograph from Regen Projects and I could not be more thrilled!!
CULTURED:What was your biggest influence in fostering your passion for art?
Chung: I’m honestly not sure where it came from. My mother collects old Chinese watercolors and calligraphy, but it’s not something that was ever at the forefront of family discussions, nor did our family really go for any sort of arts education. I grew up in a pretty traditional, over-achieving Chinese-American household. I think I’ve always been the outlier in the family; maybe that’s what attracted me to art? I had a whole phase where I collected “bad boy art”: Dash Snow, Scott Campbell, etc. Lol!
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