Arnon Grunberg in Corona-hit New York, the work in his hands is by Roland Topor.
In this section we let a selection of art lovers – from occasional buyers to art professionals – talk about their perception of art and preferences: where do they want to see art? Where do they purchase art, and above all: from which artists do they buy? Below, an interview with Arnon Grunberg (writer, age 49)
What does art mean to you?
Art reconciles us with contradictions that are threatening to us and our environment. Art allows us to live out our fantasies without having to deal with the consequences and can provide us with insight into ourselves and the world. And then there's the thrill of beauty.
Robin de Puy, William and Leuxian, 2015, The Ravestijn Gallery.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
Reading was encouraged. Museum visits, too. But I was more of a listener and a reader than a viewer of still images. I had and still have a preference for the narrative - as infantile as that may be - which is why I have a preference for photography.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
Newspapers. Magazines. I don't actually read any trade journals. According to a famous Dutch artist, I don't know anything about art. I know less about art than about literature, but nothing at all?
Robby Müller, Holiday Inn, while shooting Honeysuckle Rose San A, 1979, Annet Gelink Gallery.
Where do you prefer to see art?
A museum or gallery. The emptier the better. People distract me. Yet I also think people watching is a legitimate function of a museum. At the same time, a museum is also synonymous with death. A major retrospective in a respectable museum also translates into a bit of the artist's death.
How often do you buy art each year?
I buy very little these days. I collect works by Roland Topor. I met Aat Veldhoen through his partner, Hedy d'Ancona. A friend also gave me something from Aat. Veldhoen fascinated me. I once suggested posing in front of him while having sex, but he said, "I don't do that anymore."
Ron Galella, Elvis, Philadelphia, 1974, Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
Usually at auctions, with or without an intermediary.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
My partner and I are not living together, so we certainly don’t have to agree on purchases. That makes a difference. Either way, I don't think your partner and you need to think the same about art - or anything at all for that matter. I can’t imagine what that would be like.
Emo Verkerk, Joseph Roth & Stefan Zweig, 2018, Willem Baars Projects.
Is there a gallery with which you have a special bond?
I don't know if I would call it a special relationship, but I was at the Ron Mandos gallery in January admiring the work of Julian Rosefeldt together with an ex-girlfriend. I really like Rosefeldt. I wasn’t familiar with his work, which says a lot about my ignorance, but I found it to be a very pleasant introduction.
If you had an unlimited budget, who would you buy a work from?
It is probably not very original, but I like Lucian Freud very much. I hope to write the way he paints - with loving relentlessness. I wouldn't know how to look at the world without finding myself to be a hypocritical liar.
Lara Verheijden, HOERA, 2017, HERO.
Who are your favourite artists?
For a while, Robin de Puy and I corresponded intensively about life. I am fascinated by the way she engages with her subjects, which is also reflected in her work. Maybe I recognise something in that.
Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders was a revelation. I was also in love with Nastassja Kinski for a while. That aesthetic desolation is also reflected in Robby Müller’s work.
According to Multatuli, writers are whores. You might say that Lara Verheijden is commenting on Multatuli, consciously or unconsciously.
Alex van Warmerdam, Man met Oor, 2019, GRIMM.