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Art Collector Spotlight: OWN President Tina Perry


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Tina Perry, who was named president of OWN in 2019, started collecting artwork with her husband, entrepreneur Ric Whitney, seven years ago. Early acquisitions include photographic and sculptural works by Genevieve Gaignard “that tell an amazing story of a biracial artist’s life perspective,” says Perry, as well as street and graffiti pieces by Australia-born artists DABSMYLA and pieces by Aaron Fowler. They serve as foundations for a collection — from a diverse array of artists — that Perry describes as “reflecting contemporary commentaries on social justice issues.”

Perry, who sits on a number of arts organization boards (The Mistake Room, CalArts, Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center Advisory Board), spoke about some of the pieces in her collection, how to navigate the Frieze Los Angeles art fair (which runs Feb. 13 to 16) and newly opened art shows she recommends. 


“The best part of Frieze L.A. is the increased accessibility to amazing artists right in our backyard. Galleries exhibiting works from stellar artists across the globe right here is amazing and a testament to the continued growth and deserved recognition of the L.A. art scene,” says Perry. Her advice for enjoying Frieze, which includes more than 70 galleries in a 62,000-square-foot tent on the Paramount lot is: “One, take your time — you want to be able to take in as much as possible without feeling rushed. Two, ask questions — as you walk the fair, don’t be shy about speaking with gallery staff about the work they are showing and about the artists they represent.” Two artists whose work she’s most excited to see at Frieze are Hank Willis Thomas, at the Jack Shainman booth, and Jordan Casteel, at Casey Kaplan.


“There are a few prominent artworks in our living room, which we truly enjoy living with daily,” says Perry. One is Umar Rashid’s large-scale painting Frohawk Two Feathers (Umar Rashid) “Etranger, 2018” that Perry calls “stunning and a timely reflection of, and an important commentary on, the state of the world today. Rashid is a Chicago born but longtime L.A.-based artist who was recently selected for the 2020 Made in L.A. biennial at the Hammer Museum.” Another is Joe Ray’s In Space, 1980. “It’s a beautiful painting that we simply love from a Los Angeles-based artist who has long been active, important and influential in the L.A. art movement.”


Says Perry of Jamal Cyrus’ 2010 untitled installation: “I first saw [it] at the The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia show. I and my husband immediately fell in love with the piece. The piece really spoke to me because it conjures images of televised press conferences with microphones forced into the face of the person being interviewed. The position of the drum as the speaker tickled me as all bass drums carry the beat and inspire movement. The drum also intrigued me as it is wrapped in a black leather jacket. I envision it speaking loudly and profoundly.” The couple has also recently collected works by the artists Deborah Roberts, Brian Rochefort, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Nathaniel Mary Quinn and D’Angelo Lovell Williams.


Perry suggests checking out Hank Willis Thomas’ “An All-Colored Cast” at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (through March ?7, 1201 S. La Brea Ave.), which includes a replica of The Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee car; Lauren Halsey’s exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery (through March 4, 5130 W. Edgewood Place); and Ja’Tovia Gary’s video project at the Hammer Museum (through May 17, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.)

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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