Dr Joy – 乔伊博士

A radiologist at Kaiser Permanente, V. Joy Simmons, MD has been living in Los Angeles for over 50 years and began collecting art while in medical school. A committed supporter of African-American artists (although she does have an Andy Warhol portrait of Queen Ntombi of Swaziland), she is a passionate advocate of arts patronage and civic engagement. For Frieze Week, Dr. Simmons gives a glimpse of her collection in her Ladera Heights home, and shared her years of insight.

On discovering art

Growing up we had lots of white walls. But as a teenager music was my real passion — Jimi Hendrix! So when I went to Stanford, I always had music posters over my room. As a freshman, I went to New York City for the first time. My uncle is a jazz musician and his wife, Janet, was a significant patron of the arts — she was on the founding board of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

My girlfriends and I would go and stay with aunt Janet every year for Spring Break. On one trip, there was a Romare Bearden show at MoMA and I bought a poster. I took that poster back to Stanford put it up in my room next to Hendrix — that was the start. I still tell people today — you can start with a poster. That’s how you can develop your eye and taste inexpensively.

Dr Joy - 乔伊博士

John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 2), 2016 (left), Deborah Roberts, Act of Power, 2018 (right). © V. Joy Simmons

On becoming a collector

Aunt Janet always had creatives in her home. There was always some writer or artist at dinner, be it a Mel Edwards or Jack Whitten. However, it was seeing there how she and uncle Ronald curated their home that was really important for me: seeing how you could create 
a home that reflected your values, your vision — reflect you. A few years after taking home that Bearden poster, I found a chance to buy my first real piece — a lithograph by Elizabeth Catlett, Which Way (1973). I saw it and I realised...I can do thisNow.

How to pay for it, I decided, was something I could figure out later. This was 1974 or 1975 — my first year of medical school. The lithograph cost $50, and it still took me months to pay off! But it’s stayed in my collection ever since. Now, it is hung in my bedroom. I’m blessed to see it every time I wake up.

On Los Angeles as an art capital

I think L.A. is freer than most art centres. It feels less intense. In New York City, you always have to hustle. I go to studio visits there and I’m still shocked by the spaces in which people have to work — I’m like... Really — you can breathe in here? Wherever you are in L.A., you get sun and light and fresh air.

In Los Angeles, there are so many places where people can set up camp and really just create. Plus, I don’t think it has the same art hierarchy that you find in other art scenes. Perhaps this is partly why, in addition to the major institutions we have, there are so many artist-run galleries and non-profit entities — so many ways for share your work with the masses.

It’s true that rent can be challenging in parts of the city. And the gallery game — that’s a hard game, wherever you are. But at least in Los Angeles, artists can navigate that struggle with vibrant birds-of-paradise plants and cala lilies in the front yard, even in South Central.

Dr Joy - 乔伊博士

Basil Kincaid, Reclining, 2018 (wall), Sanford Biggers, Cloud, 2001, (ceiling), Oscar Murillo, Untitled, 2013, (table, left), Kerry James Marshall plate, (table, right)

On living with art

I’ve been in this neighbourhood since 1979, and I built this house in 1992, with an eye towards getting in the most light to show the most art, and still have it be a fun place for kids. I have grandkids now and they can still run around — so long as they don’t knock anything over in my living room, it’s cool!

It’s really important for us to open up our homes: it’s an opportunity to share our story. You can talk to someone about your collection, but once someone comes into your home, they get it. It’s a way of saying: This is how I live. This is what I get to see every day.

I’m probably not everybody’s stereotypical idea of an “Art Collector” — I still work a 9-to-5! But that’s true with a lot of black collectors: not too many of us are oligarchs. But I see an opportunity to encourage more collectors by example. In Los Angeles, health-care and entertainment employ a lot of people of color — as physicians as well as actors, as lawyers, engineers and writers. They’re all making money. And some times they are working in spaces that aren’t always warm or filled with personality, but can be very stressful: which means your home takes on new meaning and importance. A home really is your castle. Once you show people that art is a way they can make their home feel certain way, to exercise their creative side, to realize a vision, and it is the start of a path that can lead to supporting those artists who speak to that vision, it all comes together!

I actually loaned some of my works when they were shooting How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), so even more people could see art that African-Americans owned and lived with. Those kind of “subliminal” images and the messages they send are really important — whether on ‘Empire’ or ‘Power’ or ‘The Cosby Show’ or a Beyoncé video. A viewer of those might not identify a Kehinde Wiley in that moment, but then when they do see a Kehinde Wiley they know exactly what it is. And they might think: I can’t afford a Kehinde painting. But I can afford a poster ….or a lithograph.

Dr Joy - 乔伊博士

Mark Bradford, Untitled (Jacket), 2002, (wall), Elizabeth Catlett, Woman, 1984, (sideboard)

On supporting the next generation

Some of the artists I collect are valuable now — Kerry James Marshall is now said to be ‘the most expensive living African American artist’. I’m glad! I bought mine a long time ago when his work was more in my price range, so I’m good.

Nevertheless, if his prices mean he can continue make work that can be seen even more broadly, it’s heartening. You have to support artists, bottom line. Just think, someone was paying for Leonardo da Vinci so that he could eat and paint continue to do him.

Someone might now think I can’t afford an Amy Sherald when her work was going for less than $20,000 not so long ago. But I tell people: the challenge of collecting shouldn’t be Am I going to be able to buy a Mark Bradford? Because for most regular people — and yes, I consider myself regular — the answer is no, you won’t be able to. Period.

What you can do is take the opportunity to find the next Mark Bradford. That’s exciting part. That’s the fun part. I bought Mark when no-one knew who he was, in the 1990s. I’ve supported his Art + Practice non-profit since then and we’re still very good friends. You don’t create those relationships otherwise. People sometimes ask me what’s the return on investment with my pieces, or with some artist. I say: who knows! There are so many people I could have bought in the ’70s or ’80s that are now mega-stars, but I don’t care. You buy what you enjoy, you live with it, you rotate it, you find out what you love.

On becoming a patron

In 1978 there was this big show that art historian Dr. David Driskell curated at LACMA: ‘Two Centuries of African-American Art’. I looked at all the captions and noticed that none of the works were owned by names that sounded black. I had already begun to collect, but it was only then I realized that part of owning a piece was about making sure it could be seen — so that story I was trying to work out about my experience, the African-American experience, could be part of someone else’s experience too.

But you can’t just go to the museum and tell them: do a show of this! You need to have and support those curators who are curious to tell these stories and who will make sure these artists are recognized. If we don’t support institutions on the civic level then they are not going to tell our stories on a broader level. And we have to make sure smaller organizations are alive too, to keep artists making, to train the next generation of curators. It’s an eco-system. It’s stages. But all along the way we as patrons have to support our community.

I’m chair of the Board of The Mistake Room, in the Arts District. It’s dedicated to experimentation in all forms, and we try to highlight international artists — Korakrit Arunanondchai’s first commission was there, and Oscar Murillo’s first solo proper solo in the US. Before that I was on the founding board of LAXART with Lauri Firstenberg — Hamza Walker, the current curator, is working on Frieze Los Angeles’ Talks and Music program.

Many years ago, I was on the board on the California African-American Museum, which provides a crucial historical context for the visual arts. My daughter, Naima Keith, is revitalizing that institution as Chief Curator today. Venice Arts is a cause I am passionate about. It’s a non-profit that since 1993 has given low-income kids in Venice free education in photography and film, with practicing artists as mentors. It’s led some of them to college to study art. It has been incredible to see.

Taking the step from collecting to this kind of patronage means you’re not just projecting your thoughts or telling your stories: you’re making sure everyone has a chance to tell theirs too. Some patrons I know make sure their donations to institutions go towards education. As a result, you see kids come to LACMA who don’t know where Wilshire Blvd is — their experience is widened before they even see any art, just by being in another part of town. And for them to see the Kerry James Marshall exhibition at MOCA? To see their reactions to that? It’s mind-blowing. It’s priceless. That is what it’s all about.

Main image: Portrait of V. Joy Simmons

Frieze Week /

Frieze Week
Frieze Los Angeles

Kaiser Permanente,V.Joy Simmons医学博士的放射科医生已经在洛杉矶生活了50多年,并在医学院开始收集艺术作品。她是非裔美国艺术家的忠实支持者(尽管她确实有斯威士兰的恩托姆比女王的安迪·沃霍尔肖像),但她是艺术赞助和公民参与的热情拥护者。对于Frieze Week,Simmons博士在Ladera Heights的家中展示了她的收藏,并分享了她多年的洞察力。在发现艺术成长的过程中,我们有许多白色的墙壁。但作为一个青少年,音乐是我真正的激情-吉米亨德里克斯!所以当我去斯坦福大学的时候,我的房间里总是挂着音乐海报。作为一名新生,我第一次去了纽约。我叔叔是一位爵士音乐家,他的妻子珍妮特是艺术的重要赞助人,她是哈莱姆工作室博物馆的创始董事会成员。每年春假,我和我的女朋友都会去和珍妮特阿姨住在一起。在一次旅行中,在Moma举办了一场罗马比尔登展览,我买了一张海报。我把海报拿回斯坦福大学,放在我的房间里,紧挨着亨德里克斯,这才是开始。我今天仍然告诉人们,你可以从海报开始。这就是你如何发展你的眼睛和品味廉价。 John Edmonds,Untitled(Hood 2),2016(左),Deborah Roberts,Act of Power,2018(右)。礼貌:乔伊·西蒙斯成为收藏家后,珍妮特姨妈的家里总是充满创意。吃饭时总有作家或艺术家,不管是梅尔·爱德华兹还是杰克·惠顿。然而,她和罗纳德叔叔在那里如何管理他们的家对我来说是非常重要的:看看你如何创造一个反映你的价值观、你的愿景反映你的家。几年后,我把那张比尔登的海报带回家,我找到了一个机会,买了我的第一幅真正的作品-一幅伊丽莎白·卡特利特的石版画,哪条路(1973)。我看到了,我意识到……我能做到。现在。我决定,如何支付这笔费用是我以后可以想出来的。这是1974年或1975年,我上医学院的第一年。这幅石版画花了50美元,我花了几个月才还清!但从那以后它就一直在我的收藏中。现在,它挂在我的卧室里。每次醒来都能看到它,我真是太幸运了。在洛杉矶作为艺术之都,我认为洛杉矶比大多数艺术中心更自由。感觉不那么紧张。在纽约市,你总是要抓紧时间。我去参观了那里的工作室,我仍然对人们工作的空间感到震惊-我就像……真的-你能在这里呼吸吗?无论你在洛杉矶什么地方,你都能得到阳光、阳光和新鲜空气。在洛杉矶,人们可以在很多地方安营扎寨,并真正创造。另外,我认为它没有你在其他艺术场景中发现的相同的艺术层次。也许这就是为什么除了我们拥有的主要机构之外,还有如此多的艺术家经营的画廊和非营利实体-与大众分享你的作品的方法。在城市的某些地方,租金确实具有挑战性。画廊游戏-这是一个很难的游戏,无论你在哪里。但至少在洛杉矶,艺术家们可以在前院,甚至在中南部与充满活力的天堂鸟、植物和百合花作斗争。 Basil Kincaid,斜倚,2018(墙壁),Sanford Biggers,Cloud,2001(天花板),Oscar Murillo,Untitled,2013(桌子,左边),Kerry James Marshall Plate,(桌子,右边),关于与艺术一起生活,我从1979年起就在这附近,我在1992年建造了这座房子,旨在在最亮丽的灯光下展示最艺术的,并且仍然是孩子们的一个有趣的地方。我现在有孙子了,只要他们不把我客厅里的东西打翻,他们还能跑-左右,很酷!对我们来说,打开我们的家是非常重要的:这是一个分享我们故事的机会。你可以和别人谈论你的收藏,但一旦有人走进你的家,他们就会得到它。这是一种说法:这就是我的生活方式。这是我每天都能看到的。我可能不是每个人对“艺术收藏家”的传统观念-我仍然是一个9比5的人!但对于很多黑人收藏家来说,这是真的:我们中没有太多人是寡头。但我看到了一个通过例子鼓励更多收藏家的机会。在洛杉矶,医疗保健和娱乐业雇佣了许多有色人种作为医生、演员、律师、工程师和作家。他们都在赚钱。有时,他们在不总是温暖或充满个性的空间工作,但压力很大:这意味着你的家具有新的意义和重要性。一个真正的家就是你的城堡。一旦你向人们展示了艺术是一种让他们的家有某种感觉的方式,锻炼他们的创造性,实现一个愿景,这是一条道路的开始,这条道路可以引导支持那些谈论这个愿景的艺术家,所有的一切都在一起!实际上,我把我的一些作品借给了那些拍摄斯特拉如何找回她的凹槽的人(1998年),这样更多的人可以看到非裔美国人拥有和生活在一起的艺术。无论是在“帝国”或“权力”或“科斯比秀”或“碧昂斯”视频中,这些“潜意识”图像和它们发送的信息都非常重要。在那一刻,观察者可能不会辨认出一个克辛德威利,但当他们确实看到一个克辛德威利时,他们就知道它到底是什么了。他们可能会想:我买不起克欣德的画。但我买得起海报……或者石版画。 Mark Bradford,Untitled(夹克),2002,(墙),Elizabeth Catlett,Woman,1984,(餐具柜),关于支持下一代,我收集的一些艺术家现在很有价值-Kerry James Marshall现在据说是“生活中最昂贵的非洲裔美国艺术家”。我很高兴!我很久以前买了我的,当时他的工作在我的价格范围内,所以我很好。然而,如果他的价格意味着他可以继续做更广泛的工作,这是令人振奋的。你必须支持艺术家,底线。想想看,有人付钱给达芬奇,让他可以吃和画继续做他。有人可能会认为我买不起艾米·谢拉德不久前她的工作还不到2万美元。但是我告诉人们:收集的挑战不应该是我能买一个马克·布拉德福德吗?因为对于大多数普通人-是的,我认为自己是普通人-答案是不,你将无法做到。期间。你能做的就是抓住机会找到下一个马克·布拉德福德。那是令人兴奋的部分。这是有趣的部分。上世纪90年代,我在没有人知道马克是谁的时候买下了他。从那以后,我一直支持他的非营利艺术+实践,我们仍然是很好的朋友。否则就不会创建这些关系。人们有时会问我,对我的作品或对某个艺术家的投资回报是多少。我说:谁知道!在70年代或80年代,我本可以买这么多人,现在都是超级明星,但我不在乎。你买你喜欢的东西,你和它一起生活,你旋转它,你发现你爱的东西。1978年成为一名赞助人后,艺术史学家大卫·德里斯克尔博士在拉克玛主持了一场大型展览:“两个世纪的非裔美国艺术”。我看了看所有的标题,发现所有的作品都不是黑色的。我已经开始收集了,但直到那时我才意识到拥有一件作品的一部分是为了确保它能被人看到,所以我想写的关于我的经历的故事,非洲裔美国人的经历,也可能是别人经历的一部分。但是你不能直接去博物馆告诉他们:做个这个展览!你需要拥有并支持那些想讲述这些故事的策展人,以及确保这些艺术家得到认可的策展人。如果我们不支持公民层面的机构,那么他们就不会在更广泛的层面上讲述我们的故事。我们还必须确保小组织也能生存下来,让艺术家继续创作,培养下一代策展人。这是一个生态系统。这是舞台。但在整个过程中,我们作为赞助人必须支持我们的社区。我是艺术区错误室的董事会主席。它致力于各种形式的实验,我们试图强调国际艺术家-Korakrit Arunonandchai的第一个委员会在那里,奥斯卡·穆里洛的第一个独奏在美国。在那之前,我曾与现任馆长Lauri Firstenberg-Hamza Walker一起在Laxart创始董事会工作,正在为Frieze Los Angeles的Talks and Music项目工作。许多年前,我在加州非裔美国人博物馆(California African American Museum)工作,该博物馆为视觉艺术提供了重要的历史背景。我的女儿奈玛·基思(NaimaKeith)今天正在振兴该机构,使其成为首席馆长。威尼斯艺术是我热爱的事业。1993年以来,威尼斯的低收入儿童在摄影和电影方面接受了免费教育,由实践艺术家担任导师,这是一项非营利性活动。他们中的一些人上了大学学习艺术。真是难以置信。从收集到这种赞助意味着你不仅仅是在表达你的想法或讲述你的故事:你要确保每个人都有机会说出他们的想法。我认识的一些赞助人确保他们对机构的捐款用于教育。因此,你会看到孩子们来到拉克玛,他们不知道威尔希尔大道在哪里-他们的经验让他们去莫卡看克里·詹姆斯·马歇尔展览?看看他们对此的反应?真让人吃惊。它是无价的。这就是一切。主图片:V.Joy Simmons Fri的肖像


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