Independent Collectors

Gary Yeh

IC talks to Gary Yeh.

Artworks by Jonathan Monk and Lee Bae in Gary Yeh's Collection
Artworks by Jonathan Monk and Lee Bae in Gary Yeh's Collection

You are only 26 years old and already a proactive consumer of art, both with collecting and entrepreneurial activities. Pre-covid, were you traveling frequently for the purpose of following the art world or did you focus more on attending shows locally?

Gary Yeh
I’ve always loved traveling, and as soon as I quit my full-time, corporate job to pursue growing ArtDrunk, I had the freedom to travel anywhere the art world took me. That included going to most of the global art fairs, the Venice Biennale, spending many months in Asia, and even visiting South Africa for the first time for an artist studio visit. I can’t say it was good for my health — my body rarely knew what time zone it was in! But it was one of the most rewarding years of my life to let art lead the way while I experienced cultures from all over the world.

Tell us a bit about your initiative ArtDrunk. Further, why the name?

Gary Yeh
ArtDrunk started as an Instagram account when I was still in college. The name came about because I thought it was rather cheeky to be “drunk on art” rather than drunk in the more standard sense as a student. Since then, ArtDrunk has taken on a broader identity as a media company with the mission of sharing the cultural and emotional power of art with all, with a specific focus on millennials. Art has had such a profound impact on my life, I want to share what it has to offer with my peers.

ArtDrunk works towards that goal by creating content on platforms where millennials are already consuming media — such as Instagram, YouTube, and email newsletters. I’m also keen on presenting art with a more friendly, approachable tone, which is also a play on ArtDrunk — providing an unfiltered voice on art.

ArtDrunk Instagram
ArtDrunk Instagram
ArtDrunk Newsletter on Julie Curtiss from November 27, 2020
ArtDrunk Newsletter on Julie Curtiss from November 27, 2020
Still from Shara Hughes interview on ArtDrunk's YouTube
Still from Shara Hughes interview on ArtDrunk's YouTube

Navigating the fast-paced art world as a young entrepreneur, do you believe that you can well react and ensure that ArtDrunk stays contemporary and current, influenced by the art market?

Gary Yeh
It’s actually important for ArtDrunk to stay independent from the art market. Of course, some of my content involves attending art fairs, but I believe strongly in a mission around “art for art’s sake.” I’d love to build a reputation of working with today’s top contemporary artists while having the platform to support younger, more emerging artists who have yet to hit the mainstream. In that sense, ArtDrunk isn’t just following what is current but playing an active role in supporting what will be “current” in the future.

Your university studies were in Art History and Economics. What was the most recent fair you visited before Covid-19 lockdowns? In your opinion, what did the presented artworks reveal about the trends and market?

Gary Yeh
The most recent fair I visited before lockdowns was Independent New York. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember that much from the fair. Most fairs had started to blend together for me, seeing the same artists and galleries regardless of the city. What I’m more interested in now is what the fairs will be like post-Covid. I miss the socializing aspect. The parties and dinners can be draining, but there’s nothing like a fair to bring all of your friends together from around the world. The first major fair to reopen might also offer trends as to how artists have responded to this pandemic in their work.

You bought your first artwork during your sophomore year in college in 2015, how does Instagram apply (a) to you as a collector and (b) as a company founder?

Gary Yeh
The first artwork I bought was off of Instagram. It was a 2-meter painting that I found scrolling through the hashtag #contemporaryart. Instagram still applies to me today as a collector in that I use it to see what shows are on view or to see which artists my other collector friends are actively looking at. While I have yet to buy anything else on a whim off of Instagram, it is certainly a resource for me to discover new artists.

As for being a company founder, I use Instagram to stay in touch with and meet new people. It’s incredible how easy it is to feel part of a community through the use of direct messages.

Gary Yeh filming at Rannva Kunoy's Studio in London
Gary Yeh filming at Rannva Kunoy's Studio in London
Jenny Holzer at MMCA Seoul. Photo by Gary Yeh
Jenny Holzer at MMCA Seoul. Photo by Gary Yeh

Are you doing anything specifically now with your online presence to respond to our crisis?

Gary Yeh
At the start of the pandemic, I needed to take a step back and slow down. Most galleries and media companies were pumping out content like never before, but I felt it was oversaturating the online space. It was much more a focus on quantity rather than quality of content.

Part of stepping back was also taking a much needed break after jumping into the art world deep end last year. I had experienced so much in such a short period, I sort of lost hold of why I quit my job to pursue ArtDrunk in the first place. There was a lot of pressure earlier this year to support the art world through my platform, but it was necessary for me to think longer term as to what role ArtDrunk will play in this industry.

In your opinion/experience, is the decision to buy a piece of art intertwined with the context it is presented in?

Gary Yeh
Collecting art is an immensely personal experience for me. So when I collect, it’s more about the stories I can share about each piece, such as a personal relationship with the artist. For example, with that first painting I bought off of Instagram, I’m always reminded of getting to meet the artist in Oslo, staying at his home for one night, and venturing throughout the city for the best fish and chips and bread I had ever had. Or with another artist, I was gifted a small drawing after filming at his studio in Korea. The day started off by having BBQ at a local restaurant, then visiting three of his four studios, learning about his process and background along the way. I still haven’t gotten it framed, but it’s absolutely a piece I will cherish for years to come, knowing that those wonderful memories will rush back everytime I look at the piece.

Have you bought any/many works through online viewing rooms?

Gary Yeh
Not yet.

Pat Steir at Taipei Dangdai Art Fair. Photo by Gary Yeh
Pat Steir at Taipei Dangdai Art Fair. Photo by Gary Yeh
Gary Yeh at the ICA Miami
Gary Yeh at the ICA Miami

What advice do you have to share with fellow young collectors or anyone interested to start collecting?

Gary Yeh
Take your time! There’s really no rush to jump into collecting until you’ve started to develop your own tastes. And that’s really only possible once you’ve seen a ton of art. While I won’t go so far as to say I’ve regretted any purchases, I often think about what I could’ve added to my collection instead a year, or even a few months, later. Even now, my tastes still change. It has taken five years to really start to see themes emerge in what I like and what I don’t. It’s part of the collecting fun to make mistakes, but at the same time I’d much rather just live with things I love forever.

Who are some of the collectors or which collections have most inspired you thus far on your journey?

Gary Yeh
One of my dreams is to open an art space. Hard to say what form exactly that will take, but I’m constantly inspired by Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales of Glenstone. Their attention to detail in both collecting masterworks and creating an architectural marvel for experiencing art is everything I aspire to in the future. There’s a certain meditative quality to Glenstone that aligns perfectly with how I approach art as a way to slow down and disconnect from the digital world.

Cinga Samson Studio in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Gary Yeh
Cinga Samson Studio in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Gary Yeh

All images courtesy of Gary Yeh.

USA (55)

West Collection

Since 1996, Al & Paige West have been building an impressive collection, including works by artists such as Donald Judd, Martin Boyce, and Candice Breitz.

Valeria Napoleone

The Italian-born collector actively seeks out under­represented positions and therefore only acquires works by women artists.

Christine and Andrew Hall

Interview with the collectors behind Hall Art Foundation

de la Cruz Collection

Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz, the co-founders of the renowned collection that bears their name, are always quick to highlight the importance of education when discussing the role the De La Cruz Collection plays in the Miami community.

The Broad Collection

Walking down the Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, right by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), you can’t help but be struck by the angular construction of The Broad and its bright white honeycomb exterior.

Marciano Art Foundation

Maurice and Paul Marciano, founders of the GUESS jeans brand, in their five-thousand-square-meter exhibition space

The Mallin Collection

Nestled on 15 acres in the scenic town of Pound Ridge, New York, Buckhorn Sculpture Park features gardens, woodlands, a lake and an orchard.

Transformer Station

Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell’s transformation of an electrical power station in Cleveland

The Goss-Michael Foundation

A place that grew out of a romantic connection between Kenny Goss and the late pop music legend, George Michael

Franks-Suss Collection

Initially focused on China, collectors Simon Franks and Robert Suss soon widened their purview

Mera & Donald Rubell

Five quick questions, five short answers by the famous couple behind the Rubell Family Collection

Thoma Foundation

Two intimate art spaces in Chicago and Santa Fe encourage dialogue between work and viewer

Martin Margulies

Interview with the collector behind the Margulies Collection

Seth Stolbun

The Houston native collector almost exclusively acquires works from artists that he has a personal relationship with

The Donum Collection

Wine tasting and Crouching Spider by Louise Bourgeois

March 8th 2022

The Stolbun Collection presents “March 8th 2022”, likely the only exhibition at Ferndale–Seth Stolbun’s rental home, as captured by his iPhone

Rubell Family Collection

Curator Joey Lico teams up with artist Alexis Diaz to visit the mighty Rubell Museum in Miami

Saint Georgina Slays The Dragon

A new collection on IC, see inside The Bennett Collection, which is focused on figurative realism, specifically the realistic, painted depiction of women by women.

Flippin The Script with Armand-Paul Family Collection

In “Flippin The Script” we warmly welcome the Armand-Paul Family Collection in New York to IC, with its focus on the African and Latin diasporas, and interest in performance.

Donna Huanca – Obsidian Ladder

Skin painting artist Donna Huanca participates in the current MAF project series, exploring gender and sexuality in contemporary life.

We Still Have Wild Birds Here

Overlooked American artist Gene Beery (b. 1937), declared and depicted reflections in his paintings with a relevant truth and irony that is no less today.

Life Cycle

The Marciano Art Foundation hosted Ai Weiwei for the third MAF Project in their Theatre Gallery.

The Wig Museum

LA's MAF was inaugurated in 2017 with a solo show of Jim Shaw, curated by Philipp Kaiser.

Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation

Delve into the digital art of the collection exhibited across two spaces.

Art Now, Art Forever: Damon Zucconi

As collectors dedicated to following artist careers in depth and breadth, Clayton Press and Gregory Linn describe their on-going relationship to the work of Damon Zucconi, whose works are frequently accessible online.

www.Simco Web Works

In context of exposing art digitally and exposing digital art, we wanted to present artworks that have only and always existed on the web, as URLs, here in the collection of Stefan Simchowitz.

Responding to Nature

Tucked away in the vineyard’s of San Francisco you’ll find the secret sculpture park of Nancy and Steve Oliver.

Go Figure / Alec Soth

This summer, the Pizzuti Collection will feature two exhibitions featuring works taken from the private collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti.

John Morrissey

Discover is a keyword for the American attorney and art collector John Morrissey, who directs his focus towards emerging contemporary artists.

Roberto Toscano

It all started with the purchase of an etching by Richard Serra in 2011, which turned out to serve as the very foundation for Roberto Toscano’s art collection.

Stefan Simchowitz Collection

L.A.’s most controversial art collector opens up his private collection of contemporary painting.

Carole Server

The New York-based collectors with an enthusiasm for patronage and education.

Force and Form

The private collection studying contemporary visual culture.

Elayne & Marvin Mordes

The sun has just risen over the eaves when we meet on Park Avenue one peaceful January morning and Marvin and Elayne Mordes seem just the way we’d had hoped – warm, open and sympathetic.

Buckhorn Sculpture Park

Located in the scenic town of Pound Ridge, New York, you’ll find the private home of collector couple Sherry and Joel Mallin and their Buckhorn Sculpture Park.

Visions From India

The exhibition “Transforming Vision” includes some of the most prominent Indian artists working today, with all forty works coming from the Pizzuti Collection.

Clayton Press & Gregory Linn

Since 1980, Clayton Press and Gregory Linn – New Jersey collectors – have evolved from being energetic art aficionados to art market specialists.

Steve Shane

Manhattan-based collector Steve Shane is completely in love with art.

Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power 1963-1983

HEAR this Online Exhibition, exclusively put together with an abundance of images, to view whilst listening to a curated playlist by Quincy Jones.

The Broad Survey Of Shirin Neshat

Downtown L.A.’s The Broad presents Shirin Neshat in an immersive survey.


Exhibition at the Stolen Collection

The Herskovic Collection

A fanatic collector of Abstract Expressionist Painting.

The Dikeou Collection — Part III

A variety of artworks by both established and emerging artists.

The Dikeou Collection — Part IV

A variety of artworks by both established and emerging artists.

The Dikeou Collection – Part II

Artworks by both established and emerging artists, ranging from installations, sculpture, photographs, videos, drawings, to painting.s.

The Dikeou Collection – Part I

Founded in 1998 by the siblings Pany and Devon Dikeou, the Dikeou Collection is located in downtown Denver.

Times of Change

New York-based collector Gregory Vinitsky has been dedicated to collecting contemporary since the 1970s.

Working Hard for Art

An art consultant and curator by day, the Brooklyn-based Collector is a self proclaimed “gutsy newcomer”, working with emerging artists to help her push her collection further.

Chaotic Contemporary

Chicago based collector Troy Klyber, is a contemporary art collector that loves to engage in a bit of chaos.

No Man’s Land

Just in time for the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation has opened its new exhibition, “NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection”.

Letters to Pia

Having been given the chance to acquire intimate images of Morrisroe’s muse, Pia Howard, Boston-based collector Adam Larson speaks to IC about his relationship with the following photographs, and of course about Pia.

Select Works from the Stolbun Collection

The Stolbun Collection has turned its attention to featuring younger American artists

R F Jefferies – Don’t Postpone Joy

A look inside the collection of San Diego-based collector R F Jefferies.


Exquisite showcase of treasures of African art, culture, and history