Art & Culture

In Conversation With Lawrence Van Hagen

Words by Quintessentially Art

18 September 2020

Lawrence van Hagen at a desk in an art gallery

The curator and founder of LVH Art shares his insights and preferences with Quintessentially Art.

Curator, collector and founder of LVH Art, Lawrence Van Hagen, shares his earned insights on the current state of the art world with Quintessentially Art.

Within the current climate, how have collectors responded and adapted to the notion of buying art online?

It has varied a lot; younger and computer-savvy collectors have really jumped on the bandwagon of buying art online. However, I think the older and more established clients of some galleries and auction houses have struggled a bit.

I know some established collectors who are used to going to fairs, galleries and auction houses to view artwork in person; they have not bothered to look at art online as much. But, some have acquired works of art by artists that they already know very well, as that element of familiarity offers some security.

I feel online viewing rooms are a complementary asset to the various institutions who are trying to sell works online, and not the sole thing people should be focussing on. People still need to experience paintings and sculptures and other forms of art in a physical environment. That being said, the online viewing rooms enable collectors from different geographic regions to view exhibitions they cannot attend in a more ‘realistic’ way.

I have been working on a project where I want to create an industry standard for the online viewing room and make it a little bit more appealing, enabling people to see what technology can offer in this realm, which most galleries have not been able to do.

How have you embraced the digital realm during lockdown to continue to connect people with exciting art?

After having my New York, Hong Kong and Busan exhibitions cancelled, I decided to organise a show called What’s Up 2020, which was comprised of five virtual spaces exhibiting painting, sculpture and design pieces. Each room we created had a different aesthetic and character: there was a space inspired by Mexican architecture, another as a Parisian apartment, a museum in the Utah desert, a Venetian Palazzo and a space inspired by the architect Tadao Ando.

It was a tremendous success, which I didn’t expect, as I had never sold online before. People really enjoyed it, and I tried to create a more emotional and interactive experience through combining architecture, art, design and music, rather than just still images of artworks on a website or challenging to navigate virtual reality space.

Who is an artist that you are particularly drawn to at the moment?

I just acquired two works by a young female Turkish artist named Aks Misyuta, whom I also showed in my last exhibition. I’m not usually drawn to figurative painting, and most of my collection is abstract, but I love Aks’s work. It is very much Picasso-inspired with amazing figures and a beautiful colour palette. She is a really exciting artist to look out for.

Last week I also acquired a work by a young British artist called Rachel Jones, who has shows in two London galleries at the moment (Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Mayfair and Sunday Painter in Stockwell). She is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

If you could have any artwork in the world in your collection, which one would it be?

There are many on that list, but it would be either a Cy Twombly painting or a very large-scale abstract Gerhard Richter painting from the 1980s.

What is your approach when you’re selecting which artists you want to work with?

As I mentioned, I curate these shows called What’s Up where I place emerging artists alongside more established names, creating a sort of contemporary art survey that aims to showcase what I believe is important work.

In terms of choosing artists to work with, I primarily consider the quality of the art – do I like the artist and their work – on initial instinct. I believe you should always first and foremost buy art you love, not art that is considered a good investment. I also evaluate what institutional shows they have done and what shows they have coming up in the future, as that affects their critical reception.

I also like to know who else collects the artist and which gallery represents them.

Where will you host your next pop-up exhibition, and what do you think audiences have to look forward to?

I’m currently focussed on a new venture called ‘Artvision’ where, as I mentioned, I’m trying to create the industry standard viewing room and software to make it more accessible to galleries and curators. I think that what is available today does not reflect what technology can actually create. I’m trying to also offer it at a more competitive price for galleries.

Also, as all physical art fairs have been cancelled, I don’t have to follow the traditional art fair calendar to be able to do a show. I’m currently thinking of organising a show in London or Paris around November. In the next few months, we will also be showcasing small digital exhibitions each month, which is super exciting.

Quintessentially’s Art Patrons are invited into Lawrence Van Hagen’s home to view his private collection on Tuesday 22nd September. To join, or for more information on the Art Patron membership, please contact us here.

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