As we went to press, the art dealer Kenny Goss and his partner, singer George Michael, were set to open a gallery in Dallas in early July.
The couple have been buying art for the last 11 years and now own a collection of work, estimated at over $200m, by over 30 British artists. These include Chris Ofili, Grayson Perry, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas, Angus Fairhurst, Gilbert & George, Bridget Riley, Gary Hume, and Banksy, among others.
Mr Goss and Mr Michael also own one of the largest collections of work by Damien Hirst and recently purchased the artist’s Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, a vitrine of a cow pierced with arrows from White Cube in London.
Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Mr Goss said: “Art is about our experiences in life. Everything we buy has a personal resonance. Saint Sebastian was a gay martyr. This work is almost autobiographical for George.”
Mr Goss said the couple also “briefly considered” the purchase of Hirst’s $100m For the Love of God, a platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds, but that it is “out of our price range”.
Mr Goss and Mr Michael also own 25 works by Tracey Emin. “I love everything she does,” says Mr Goss.
The collection’s curator, Filippo Tattoni-Marcozzi, says the amount the couple spend on art every year “fluctuates” according to the time they have to look at art. According to Mr Goss: “Everything George makes from his current tour will be spent on art.”
The inaugural show in the couple’s 6,000-square-foot Dallas building is “A tribute to Tracey Emin”—a display of the couple’s entire holdings of work by the artist. It will be followed at the end of September by a show of new work by James White and then by an exhibition of four major works by Damien Hirst, including Saint Sebastian.
The couple hope to build a new, larger space for the collection and their foundation in the next five years.
“Dallas is a very conservative community,” says Mr Goss. “There are no works by Hirst or many of the other artists in our collection on show. We want to educate the community and inspire young artists.”