What I Buy & Why: Collectors Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz on Why They Don’t Actually Have Any Art Hanging Above the Sofa

Top collectors share their strategies (and obsessions).

Portrait of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz with one of their recent acquisitions, Glenn Ligon Debris Field (Red) # 3 (2018). Courtesy of the de la Cruz Collection.
Portrait of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz with one of their recent acquisitions, Glenn Ligon Debris Field (Red) # 3 (2018). Courtesy of the de la Cruz Collection.

A version of this story first appeared in the spring 2020 Artnet Intelligence Report.

What was your first acquisition?

Star Gazer (1956) by Rufino Tamayo, in 1988. Our collection changed direction in 1992 when we acquired the work of Félix González-Torres. From then on, we’ve collected contemporary art.

What was your most recent acquisition?

Four large-scale paintings by Glenn Ligon and a neon from his series inspired by the poems and unfinished films of Pier Paolo Pasolini. We also acquired work by Jennifer Guidi and Picture 4 (2018), by Nate Lowman, from a series of paintings based on crime scene photos of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas. Another recent acquisition: two paintings by Haiti-born, Miami-based artist Tomm El-Saieh.

Glenn Ligon, Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter two) (2019). Photo Courtesy of the de la Cruz Collection.

Glenn Ligon, Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter two) (2019). Photo Courtesy of the de la Cruz Collection.

Which artists are you hoping to add to your collection this year?

We are looking at a younger generation of figurative artists whose work engages with contemporary social realities and movements such as Black Lives Matter and women’s empowerment.

What is the most expensive work of art that you own?

The value of art is subjective.

Where do you buy art most frequently?

We have always built strong relationships with the artists we collect and the galleries who represent them. Additionally, we have been supporters of Art Basel and Frieze.

What work do you have hanging above your sofa?

We do not place furniture against our walls. Carlos and I have always lived with art in a way that for some may seem unconventional and do not consider artworks decorative objects.

What artwork, if any, do you have in your bathroom?

We don’t place art in the bathroom.

Tomm El-Saieh, <i>Fruiting Body</i> (2019). Courtesy of the de la Cruz Collection.

Tomm El-Saieh, Fruiting Body (2019). Photo Courtesy of the de la Cruz Collection.

What is the most impractical work of art you own? What makes it so challenging?

Félix González-Torres’s (Untitled) Portrait of Dad (1991) is a pile of candy placed on the floor. We have to make sure that the candy is always fresh!

What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?

One of Félix González-Torres’s curtains.

If you could steal one work of art without getting caught, what would it be?

One of Félix González-Torres’s curtains!

A version of this story first appeared in the spring 2020 Artnet Intelligence Report. To download the full report, which has juicy details on the best-selling artists of 2019, how A.I. could transform the art industry, and how titans of the finance industry are infiltrating the auction houses, click here


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share