Rich buyers and collectors have long been the lifeblood of the art world. This is still true today, now with the inclusion of some Hip-Hop artists joining the mix. Jay Z, Sean Combs and Pharrell Williams are amongst The Hollywood Reporter’s “TOP 25 Power Collectors,” sited in its November 8 issue.
Pharrell Williams collects contemporary art. It is reported that his Miami residence houses works of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Kaws and Takashi Murakami. Williams collaborated with Murakami on a post-Warhol commentary, The Simple Things, which sold for $2 million.
In 2011, Sean Combs reportedly made headlines at the Gagosian Gallery at Miami Beach Art Basel. He purchased Tracey Emin neon for $95, 000 at Lehmann Maupin, and then returned for a mirrored sculpture by Ivan Navarro from Paul Kasmin Gallery for a reported $65, 000, and a $15,000 work by South African Brett Murray.
Jay Z loves Warhol. This should come as no surprise, as he rapped about it in his 2009 track “Aint I,” saying, “I got Warhols on my hall’s walls.” Hollywood reporter notes that Jay Z has also picked up pieces by Damien Hirst, Richard Prince and Ed Rushca. In his recent album, Magna Carta, he boasts, “yellow Basquiat in the kitchen corner.” On one of his documented trips to Art Basel Miami Beach, he and his wife Beyonce have supported lesser-known artists like, Hebru Brantley of Chicago, whose paintings they bought in 2012 for $20,000.
Whether their collections are guided by attention to value or aesthetic merit, these industry veterans seem to be addicted to art.