Emerging Collector to Watch: Mack Lee – ARTnews.com

Private investments
modern and contemporary Korean art; Contemporary International Art

Based in Seoul, Mak Lee comes from a family that has long collected antiques, relics and paintings related to old Buddhism. „The interest in collecting has been around for a while,” he said. But he did not begin to amass assets in contemporary art; Instead, he began collecting fine wines. Three years ago, however, his interest turned to art collecting, and he approached art consulting firm Schwartzman & „to help me create something special that I could share with the world,” he said. With the company’s guidance, he “began to explore further [contemporary art] And collecting more seriously.”

Lee’s first impulse was to focus on Korean artists working in Seoul. He began with an art-historical bent rather than many new collectors, tapping into the country’s famed Dansequa movement. „Starting from there, my ambition was to become contemporary artists who would carry on its legacy,” he said. “What I love about Dhansequa is its focus on gesture, repetition, its ties to Zen, Buddhism, and the feelings and emotions the works convey. It felt a meaningful connection to my and my family’s past and was very closely related to Korea’s national identity.

Joe Brainard: Gordon III1969.

Courtesy Mac Lee

Among his first purchases was a painting by Yun Hyeong-kyun, known for his monochromes. From there he expanded to include Marie Kors and other light and space artists (whose work joins Lee Dansequa) and international abstractionists such as Joe Brainard, Maki na Kamura and Zeinab Saleh.

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Lee’s collection continues to grow; He buys about 20 works a year. It starts with an „initial gut reaction,” followed by in-depth research into the artists and how they might fit into the collection as a whole. Recent purchases, such as a painting by Laura Owens, led her to think about works that blur the lines between figurative and abstract, while two paintings by emerging artist Rachel Jones „showed me how I could move away from Tansequa. Simulation and start a new collecting path.” Among the artists she followed were Issy Wood, Robert Rauschenberg, Anna Park, Sable Elise Smith and Cindy G Hye Kim.

A frequent traveler on the global fair circuit, Lee said his interactions with other collectors were „a good lesson in how to become a better collector.” It will be a great experience because I will learn how to edit and find what is useful and can be added to the collection.

A version of this article will appear in 2023 ARTnews Top 200 Collectors Edition.

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