May 14th, 2014

Courtesy of Artnet, today we are enjoying a new interview with Peter Brant, who owns several art magazines and millions in his artwork collection. The interview center’s around Mr. Brant’s foundation, as well as his relationship with Andy Warhol. I appreciate the interviewee’s frankness and art world insights, and his (rare) ability to speak about art in plain, recognizable terms.

A few questions are excerpted below, but I encourage you to read the entire interview.

As a participant and observer of these auctions, do you believe these market high-wire acts are pulling the art world forward in a very productive way? And do you think it’s viable for the market to continue operating at the record height it currently occupies?

I am not a soothsayer who can say that, but I really believe it’s like my 19-year-old says: “It’s all good.” Basically it is all good. Anything that increases people’s attention or devotion to art, whether it’s a commercial consideration or an intellectual one, is good for humanity. It’s good for us, and it’s certainly better than weapons or wars or anything like that. It’s an honor to be an artist, and it’s an honor to be a collector of artists’ work, and I just think that whatever encourages people to show interest is great, because what begins one way so often ends up a different way.

So somebody can come in because they are commercially interested and think they can make a good living professionally off of art or just make a quick dollar and everybody hates that, but I don’t hate it because those people can turn out to be the biggest collectors in the future, and those people can turn out to be the biggest sponsors of museum shows in the future. You always want more people interested in art, and the interest in art has grown tremendously. There are more programs in universities, there are more art departments in private and public schools, and it all trickles down to build a much higher form of culture.

As a keen observer of the course of art history of the postwar era, what emerging directions in contemporary art are capturing your attention today? Where do you think the most exciting things are happening in the field?

If you’re a young collector today and are seriously interested and invest your time like I did, the cultural rewards for you will be immense. You don’t have to be the richest guy in the world. You can buy things at an early age and collect the younger artists who are just starting in some of these galleries, on the Lower East Side or the East Village. You just have to look around—there is so much happening.