GONE FISHING is an early book relief by British artist JOHN LATHAM (1921-2006), composed of plaster, wires and books on canvas. The spine of Cain’s Book, a novel by Alexander Trocchi, is visible on the canvas. Curiously, Latham’s work is dated 1959, whereas an English translation Trocchi’s work was not printed in the United States until 1960 or in the United Kingdom until 1963, and was banned soon after for obscene content until 1983. It is possible that the book was added or substituted later. The seemingly unrelated renaming and incorrect dating of the piece is typical, however, of the Latham oeuvre. Gone Fishing entered the collection in 2007 from Lisson Gallery, London.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) started his Torso and Sex Parts series in 1977. According to Warhol’s assistant at the time, Ronnie Cutrone, Warhol would take polaroids of of men having sex that Halston’s boyfriend, Victor Hugo, would “recruit” from gay bath houses. Warhol also later incorporated sex work into the making by hiring street hustlers to urinate on his Oxidation Paintings (1978). Linda Nochlin asserted that Warhol’s nudes of the 70s brilliantly navigate the shadowy territory between the two (arguably) mutually exclusive categories of the classical male nude and pornography. The male nudes, as exemplified by this work, is a significant part of Warhol’s oeuvre.

TRINITY TOWERS is a diptych by American artist IDA APPLEBROOG (b. 1929) from her series of ‘Window Pieces’, large three-dimensional wall stagings of voyeuristic dramas taking place behind windows. This staging, from 1982, in ink and rhoplex on vellum, makes reference to a homoerotic trend observed by the artist in New York in the late 1970s. Young high school boys, in the midst of sexual discovery, would practice erotic auto-asphyxiation, sometimes dying as a result. The iconography of the work is initially to be found in small, 12-page books of images and text that Applebroog would post to her friends and colleagues. Trinity Towers was exhibited in a solo show in 2011 at Hauser & Wirth, from where it was acquired for the collection, together with a group of Applebroog’s performances from 1977.
UNTITLED (CAESAR’S PALACE), is a work in latex and acrylic from 1991 by MARTIN KIPPENBERGER (1953-1997), part of the German artist’s ‘Latex Pictures’ series begun in 1990, although it is also connected, by title and imagery, to his ‘Hotel Series,’ numbered drawings and sketches done on hotel stationery. In addition to the façade of the famous Las Vegas hotel, the artist has included a portrait of himself on the phone, what seems to be an oversized fried egg, and other motifs often present in his paintings. Purchased in 2007, this is the second work by Kippenberger to enter the collection.
FUJI is one in a series of 110 homonymous abstract paintings made by the German artist GERHARD RICHTER (b. 1932) in the mid-1990s as part of his continuing investigation into the essential components of painting: surface, colour and action. Instead of using canvas – as he had done previously – Richter experimented with Alucobond, a composite of aluminium and plastic, because of the unexpected effects that result when coloured oil paint is layered onto the very smooth surface of this material. The use of a squeegee to apply the paint answers a basic requirement of his abstract paintings, the avoidance of any subjective or expressive associations. The technique also introduces the principle of chance, as it is impossible to predict the final look of the work. The work was purchased for the collection at Christie’s in 2011.
George Condo (born 1957 Concord, USA, lives in New York). George Condo engages with history of art and gives his “abstract-figurative” version out of it. Freely using a ”pre-existing” imagery (Velazquez, David, Picasso, Comics, etc.) with in a non nostalgic way, his paintings and sculptures reinvent what he had called “existential portraits” of contemporary modern subjects. He paints portraits, vanities, still lives, “a whole collection of things”.
MANDI VIII by Belgian artist KRIS MARTIN (b. 1972) is a painted plaster replica, created in 2006, of Laocoön, the famous marble sculpture representing the Trojan priest and his sons being strangled by sea serpents sent by the goddess Athena to kill them. An almost perfect copy of the original first-century-AD artwork kept in the Vatican Museum, this one, however, excludes the sea serpents, leaving the three men fighting against an invisible force. “Mandi” is a term borrowed by the artist from a colloquial Italian word for ‘goodbye’, an expression originating from the words mano (hand) and dio (god) and meaning ‘to leave in the hands of God’. The work was purchased for the collection from Sies + Höke Gallery, Düsseldorf, in 2009.
The desire for a young body and the love of a man are at the centre of Der Spiegel (The mirror). The other women comment on her feelings and are continuously trying to manipulate the protagonist. As the “voice” of a pitiless society, they are driving the woman into emotional turmoil. The action reaches a climax when two men appear on the scene. Keren Cytter sets the theatrically condensed plot in an almost empty room. The only props are the mirror and the camera itself. Society is represented by the looks and comments from the others. Time and again the dichotomy between how the protagonist perceives herself and how she is seen by others is highlighted; the relationship between the individual and her social context is staged as a continuous process of collapse.
SOME LEVEL OF HEAVY is a sculpture by Glasgow-based artist KARLA BLACK (b. 1972). The artist has used sugar paper, body paint and thread and – as many other works - materials and colors suggest lightness and an extreme fragility. Despite its apparent fragility, the piece, which was acquired for the collection in 2012 from Stuart Shave/Modern Art the year it was made, fully occupies the space and achieves its own balance within it.
This work is the first one in which Oscar Tuazon used marble. Tuazon’s use of raw materials infuses his work with an energy and tension, which sets him firmly within the lineage of Gordon Matta-Clark and Robert Smithson. However, the way he considers this heritage draws upon concepts prevalent in contemporary culture, such as ideas of collapse and ruin, recycling and reforming.
Thomas Houseago’s work can be questioned as un-original, as a failure of the figure, as the failure of modernism, as failure of materials. They also bring an uncomfortable feeling of authoritarian art (colonialism: cf Patrizio di Massimo). Colonialism (of the materials, of a tradition, of a culture) is not foreign to Houseago’s practice. “It’s always suspect to examine the forgotten ‘primitive’ memory of the figurative in Modernism – to return to Modernism’s repressed, barely formed ‘wild urges’. When such an attempt is filtered through an ironic, neo-expressionist approach, it’s even more difficult for the viewer to locate the philosophical and cultural contexts behind the work. Thomas Houseago’s exhibition forces the viewer to ask whether the work on display transcends its influences or merely references them. Houseago’s sculptures re-work many of the stylistic quirks and formal concerns of Cubism. The objects’ armature is exposed revealing all aspects and surfaces in the final form. Yet, Houseago deals almost exclusively with opposites, turning the object inside out and back to front so construction and form become one.
Encompassing formats including performance-lectures, published fiction, and collections of various articles and artefacts, the recent projects of Berlin-based Simon Fujiwara take shape as if scattered trails of evidence whose parts are more-or-less plausible. Each unearths an implicit myth of human origins and an explicit sexual archeology which together weave narratives that take us from our shared and most distant human past, to up close and personal with Fujiwara and his family history.
UNTITLED (HUMANITÄRE HILFE) is an oil painting from 2011 by Polish artist WILHELM SASNAL (b. 1972) based on a snapshot he took on a Polish highway of a German lorry delivering humanitarian aid. The work was purchased for the collection in 2011 from Hauser & Wirth, London.
UNTITLED is made using newsprint and acrylic positioned on a large alumalite panel created by German artist NIKOLAS GAMBAROFF (b.1979) in 2011. First layer of news- print is set down, he draws in cursive with adhesive, adds another layer and tears off the unstuck portions to create two often confused “grounds”. The newspapers that form the basis of this series equally serve to rupture the self-containment associated with the painted image. This work is one of his many abstract compositions which execute a calligraphic rendition often interspersing conceptual ideas and the idea of performance that a painting holds. Untitled was one of the works exhibited in Gambaroff’s solo show ‘Male Fantasies’ in early 2012 at the White Cube Gallery from where it was acquired into the collection.
BROWNING IN DENIAL from 2010 is a painting by Italian artist ENRICO DAVID (b. 1966). The acrylic on canvas was part of a new body of work created for ‘Head Gas,’ an exhibition held in 2012 at Studio 231, New Museum, New York. Showing a barely distinguishable figure, it refers to the mechanics of language and the human instinct to disguise something that is known and understood into something that is not. In the same exhibition, a work was presented with the title Drowning in the Nile, 2011, showing, with a play of words the evanescent quality that language has. It entered the collection this year, on the occasion of Art Basel, where it was exhibited by Micheal Werner, New York.
PORTRAIT MODE belongs to a series of works started by Danish artist NINA BEIER (b. 1976) in 2011. At close range, this abstract arrangement of found garments and fabrics, pressed within a glass frame displays the tactile and plastic features of these second-hand objects, limning their physical characteristics and individual histories. The title is determined by the portrait format chosen by the artist and is, at the same time, a way to link the work to the tradition of ‘portrait’ as an art genre. Exhibited during Frieze Art Fair in 2011, the work was purchased from Laura Bartlett Gallery.
Elad Lassry defines his work as “consumed with pictures”. Pulling images from magazines and film archives Lassry recontextualises this imagery in a manner that evokes traditions of story building and of narratives. “I’m fascinated by the collapse of histories and the confusion that results when there is something just slightly wrong in a photograph”. Whilst Lassry is successful in recontextualising this found imagery he never loses touch with its original source, the images never being displayed larger than a magazine spread and the frames painted to match the dominant hue of the original.
AUGUST 6,1945 by MATTHEW DAY JACKSON (b. 1974) from 2012 is one of a series of works depicting unique and single aerial views of bombed-out cities: London in this case, although the title refers to the date the United States bombed Hiroshima. The work is made from lead and scorched wood collected from workshops around Brooklyn and from bits and pieces of Jackson’s studio, and mounted on panel.

Collecting

DRAF is responsible for the David Roberts Collection, which focuses on contemporary works but also includes key historical pieces which are relevant for current discourse.

01 The Collection

The collection, which is made of nearly 2000 works, started in the mid. 90s, and since then it has refused any strategy alien to its own structure and natural development. It is constituted as much by the artworks forming it, as by the specific history and archive attached to each of them. The David Roberts Collection is a research vehicle and an evolving archive of forms and concepts. The collection is not focused on a specific medium, generation or geographical area. It can be considered as a collection of collections: it naturally changed over the time, and we are very proud to maintain the history of the collection and the very first works acquired. To support artists means following their practice, in a long term relationship built on trust. Many artists are collected in depth, which allows for a close understanding of their practice. Works are mainly acquired directly from galleries and artists. We consider each work from the collection not solely as an object but as a system constituted by its specific histories, and the discourses or narratives it provokes.

02 Artists

The David Roberts Collection represents more than 600 artists, including (selection):

Caroline Achaintre, Horst Ademeit, Craigie Aitchinson, Doug Aitken, Ozlem Altin, Danai Anesiadou, Ida Applebroog, Charles Avery, John Baldessari, Miroslaw Balka, Fiona Banner, Sara Barker, Phyllida Barlow, Yto Barrada, Nina Beier, Neil Beloufa, Walead Beshty, Huma Bhabha, Pierre Bismuth, Karla Black, Peter Blake, Katinka Bock, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Martin Boyce, Boyle Family, Mark Bradford, Candice Breitz, Cecily Brown, Peter Buggenhout, Daniel Buren, Gerald Byrne, Miriam Cahn, Varda Caivano, Anthony Caro, Maurizio Cattelan, Patrick Caulfield, Etienne Chambaud, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Marieta Chirulescu, Dan Colen, George Condo, Nigel Cooke, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Keith Coventry, Tony Cragg, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Gregory Crewdson, John Currin, Aaron Curry, Keren Cytter, Dexter Dalwood, Enrico David, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Richard Deacon, Michael Dean, Wim Delvoye, Thomas Demand, Jason Dodge, Peter Doig, Tara Donovan, Alex Dordoy, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Shannon Ebner, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Tracey Emin, Inka Essenhigh, Cerith Wyn Evans, Valie Export, Ayan Farah, Tessa Farmer, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Spencer Finch, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Lucian Freud, Simon Fujiwara, Barnaby Furnas, Cyprien Gaillard, Neil Gall, Ellen Gallagher, Dora GarcÌa, Theaster Gates, Kendell Geers, Gilbert and George, Adrian Ghenie, Luigi Ghirri, Jim Goldberg, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Laurent Grasso, Rodney Graham, Harry Gruyaert, Subodh Gupta, Andreas Gursky, Philip Guston, Marcus Harvey, Mona Hatoum, Eberhard Havekost, Raphaele Hefti, Jeppe Hein, Lothar Hempel, Eva Hesse, Damien Hirst, Alexander Hoda, Jenny Holzer, Jonathan Horowitz. Thomas Houseago, Peter Howson, Zhang Huan, Graham Hudson, Des Hughes, Marine Hugonnier, Gary Hume, Bethan Huws, Pierre Huyghe, Nathan Hylden, Jorg Immendorff, Matthew Day Jackson, Richard Jackson, Sergej Jensen, Renaud Jerez, Chantal Joffe, Rashid Johnson, Jitish Kallat, Anish Kapoor, Ian Kiaer, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Leon Kossoff, Yayoi Kusama, Gerald Laing, Jim Lambie, Michael Landy, Elad Lassry, John Latham, Lars Laumann, Bob Law, Leigh Ledare, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Liliane Lijn, George Henry Longly, Nate Lowman, Sarah Lucas, Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Markus Lupertz, Tala Madani, Lee Maelzer, Benoit Maire, David Maljkovic, Victor Man, Mark Manders, Christian Marclay, Kris Martin, Patrizio Di Massimo, Paul McCarthy, Bruce McLean, Susan Meiselas, Marilyn Minter, Joan Miro, Donald Moffett, Jonathan Monk, Henry Moore, Katy Moran, Helmut Newton, Roman Ondak, Julian Opie, Tony Oursler, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marlo Pascual, A.R. Penck, Grayson Perry, Seth Pick, Pablo Pijnappel, Falke Pisano, Reto Pulfer, Marc Quinn, Nathaniel Rackowe, Benedict Radcliffe, Rashid Rana, Man Ray, Paula Rego, Tobias Rehberger, Anselm Reyle, Manuela Ribadeneira, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Damien Roach, Pietro Roccasalva, James Rosenquist, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Doris Salcedo, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Scheibitz, Markus Schinwald, David Schutter, Indre Serpytyte, George Shaw, Raqib Shaw, Conrad Shawcross, Cindy Sherman, Erin Shirreff, Yinka Shonibare, Jamie Shovlin, David Shrigley, Santiago Sierra, Lorna Simpson, Dirk Skreber, Andreas Slominski, Anj Smith, Bob & Roberta Smith, Kaspar Sonne, Simon Starling, John Stezaker, Catherine Sullivan, Eve Sussman, Adam Thompson, Mark Titchner, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ryan Gander and Mario Garcia Torres, Rosemarie Trockel, Oscar Tuazon, William Turnbull, Ian Tweedy, Keith Tyson, Fredrik Vaerslev, Lesley Vance, Joana Vasconcelos, Banks Violette/ Gardar Eide Einarsson, Ulla von Brandenburg, Danh Vo, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol, Rebecca Warren, Gary Webb, Ai Weiwei, Michael Wilkinson, Feng Zhengjie, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, Thomas Zipp

03 Lending

The collection is a resource. An important action is to lend to institutions around the world, but all loans need to fulfill the following conditions:

  • The artist must have been contacted by the borrower and must have agreed to the loan: we will not lend a work to a third party without the artist’s consent.
  • Formal loan requests should be made in writing to the director. Requests should be made as early as possible, with a minimum of six weeks’ notice.
  • Our policy is not to lend to commercial exhibitions or in commercial spaces.
  • The work will not travel prior to receiving completed and signed loan forms together with insurance certificates.
  • The borrower has to be responsible for insuring the work door to door.
  • There is an administration fee for all loans, to be paid prior to transportation.
  • Condition reports must be filled in English: one upon unpacking and one upon repacking the work. The first condition report must be received prior to the opening of the exhibition.
  • For certain works, we may ask the borrower to pay for framing, glazing, bases and covers for sculpture where required, packing cases, expenses ( transport, accommodation and per diem) of couriers from DRAF.

For any query regarding the collection, please contact info@davidrobertsartfoundation.com