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The philanthropist and collector Sydney Holland is a force in the Los Angeles arts community. She sits on the boards of The Hammer and MOCA. At MOCA, she recently underwrote the major Doug Aitken retrospective. Her own collection began with a piece by Marilyn Minter and has grown to include works by Richard Avedon, Tracey Emin, Olafur Eliasson, Jon Rafman, and Ed Ruscha.
Whitewaller spoke with Holland about collecting what speaks to her, and about her foundation that supports women and at-risk youth.
WHITEWALLER: How did you start collecting?
SYDNEY HOLLAND: From a young age I’ve had an affinity toward art. As soon as I was in a position to start collecting, my first purchase was an iconic photograph by Marilyn Minter. This piece truly ignited my desire to be a collector. The ability to have such beloved pieces as a part of my everyday life, hanging in my home, was thrilling to me.
WW: Do you still have the Marilyn Minter work?
WW: Is it important to you that your collection has a focus? If so, how would you describe it?
SH: I collect what I love. From emerging Los Angeles–based artists to Warhols, I buy what speaks to me.
WW: Are there artists whose work you collect in depth?
SH: Andy Warhol, Wes Lang, Ed Ruscha.
WW: What artists are really exciting you at the moment?
SH: Wes Lang, Mary Corse, Friedrich Kunath.
WW: What is a recent show or work you’ve seen that you’re still thinking about?
SH: The Broad, Yayoi Kusama.
WW: How would you describe the collector community in Los Angeles?
SH: Emerging, young, and international. We’re on the rise, for sure. With the ICA LA downtown, the Broad, and the Marciano Art Foundation having amazing exhibits, I feel as though we’re finally getting the world’s attention.
WW: Tell us about the Sydney D. Holland Foundation, which funds programs that nurture women and empower at-risk youth through the arts. Why now?
SH: We are realizing the website at the end of the year—my philanthropic focus is on arts education. Additionally, I have a daughter who is on the spectrum and I am committed to raising awareness and funds for the early detection of autism. With proper support and an early diagnosis, amazing advances can be made.
WW: For visitors to L.A. in January around the fairs, what should they be sure to do, see, or experience?
SH: The Broad, ICA LA, The Getty, MOCA, and the Marciano Art Foundation. If they have kids, the Zimmer Children’s Museum.