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Connecting: Collectors with Stephanie and Julian Grose

For our final 'CONNECTING: Collectors' interview, we're speaking to Australian collectors Stephanie and Julian Grose. Based in North Adelaide, both grew up in a families that appreciated and collected art. They've continued that tradition together for over 20 years, creating one of the most respected collections of contemporary art in Australia. As collectors they've aimed to raise awareness of and support Australian artists, and build personal relationships with the artists whose work they collect. ⠀

1. How has spending more time at home during the lockdown changed our relationship with or understanding of your collection and artwork you own.⠀

Being at home for extended periods is rare for us, however our collection and our home are our life. This has become clearer to us during isolation.⠀


We have taken TIME to enjoy every artwork and immerse ourselves in the collection. It is such a personal collection. Each work has been chosen with passion and represents the memories of acquiring, the relationships we have built with almost every artist and often their representing galleries, the extensive travel which has opened up broader horizons and so on. So I don’t think we could say our relationship or understanding of the collection has changed, rather, there is a sense of enrichment we have not felt before.⠀

2. Where are you looking to find new artists/artwork.⠀

We are not intentionally looking for new artists. Unconsciously we may be thinking about some artists we have not worked with before but have always had in the back of our minds. We always look at emails from the galleries we know around the world. We are less likely, due to the huge numbers of gallery emails, to start new relationships. Sadly, it is not possible to open all of them. We do often see work in Biennials and museums and if we both agree the work ‘fits’ we could consider purchasing works by that artist. ⠀




3. What artists are you most excited about now?⠀

For some years, since first seeing her work in a Dubai Art Fair, I have been watching Hayv Kahraman, her work really excites me. Kara Walker. Again I have loved her work for many years. British artist, James White; David Noonan, an Australian artist living and working in London; and British artist Peter Liversidge. ⠀

4. Has this period impacted on the way you might collect in the future? If so how?⠀

Yes I think so. Over the years Art Fairs, Biennials etc have taken us to so many different parts of the world. That is not going to be possible for us from Australia for quite some time. We are not phased by purchasing on line but it isn’t the same. So it is likely we will take less risks and stick to the artists we know. I suspect we may be inclined to add more Australian artists for obvious reasons.⠀


5. What do you feel needs to happen now for the visual arts to weather the storm?⠀

There is support dribbling in from the government. But not the enormous amounts supporting business and commerce. The idea of the importance of the visual arts in communities has been eroded over the years.⠀

The sector is threatened. The health of our community relies in part on the visual arts, that is well known. Funds are needed now so that artists can afford to continue making work and weather the storm. ⠀

We as a community must pressure government to commit to supporting this sector with dedicated ministerial departments, increased funds and importantly, visible moral support, asking, listening and acting on advice from those in the industry who understand it most. And finally we as benefactors need to keep giving and as collectors keep buying, if possible.⠀

Images:

1. Peter Liversidge, Stephanie Grose and Julian Grose

2. Kara Walker, 'Fons Americanus', Tate Modern 2019. Photo: Tate​ (Matt Greenwood).⠀

3. Hayv Kahraman, (Image courtesy of the artist and @28finearts)⠀

4. Stephanie Grose with Untitled, 2019, Jacquard tapestry by David Noonan.⠀

5. Peter Liversidge, Proposal for Julian and Stephanie, 2013⠀

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