Meet the Art Collectors Behind Galerie Magazine Who Just Bought the National Enquirer for $100 Million
James and Lisa Cohen own work by Jennifer Bartlett, Roy Liechtenstein, Keith Haring, Sam Francis, Jean Dubuffet, and others.
James Cohen, a prominent New York- and New Jersey-based art collector, magazine publisher, and CEO of Hudson News, has bought the struggling tabloid the National Enquirer from American Media Inc. for a reported $100 million. Cohen also acquired the Enquirer‘s sister publications Globe and National Examiner as part of the deal.
“Year after year, the Enquirer has continued to be one of the best-selling and most profitable newsstand titles,” Cohen said in a statement. Cohen’s family built Hudson News, known for its chain of airport newsstands. The company was acquired by the Swiss travel company Dufry in 2008; Cohen remains on the board.
The decision to sell came after a hedge-fund manager whose firm controls the media company grew concerned about American Media’s CEO David Pecker, a close friend of Trump who has allegedly used the Enquirer to buy and quash stories that could have harmed the President, according to the Washington Post. The tabloid has also admitted to paying hush money on Trump’s behalf.
American Media has also faced financial trouble in recent years. Earlier this year, it tried to refinance more than $400 million in debt, while its circulation dropped from 516,000 in 2014 to 218,000 last year, according to the Post. The company still owns magazines including Us Weekly, Star, OK!, In Touch, Men’s Journal, and Muscle & Fitness.
James Cohen and his wife Lisa are prominent art collectors who own works by Jennifer Bartlett, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Sam Francis, Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hofmann, Mark Grotjahn, Willem de Kooning, George Condo, and Joan Mitchell, among others. Linda commissioned artist Rob Wynne to create an eye-popping crystal wave installation for the stairwell of their East Hampton home. Visitors are also welcomed to the circular driveway by an aluminum sculpture of a cyclist by William King, Velo (2009).
The couple started collecting art together around 2009. Before long, it became a steady habit for Lisa, who began traveling the world to art fairs and auctions. “Any art fair I could get myself invited to, I would go,” she told the New York Times in a recent article spotlighting their collection. “I would go to Paris to FIAC, to Frieze in London, where I bought the George Condo. Of course, Art Basel. I saw the phenomenon of this whole life of traveling and going to these art fairs, seeing the same people on one continent, and a few months later, seeing them on another.”
In addition to the Hamptons, the couple have homes in New York City (a corner unit in the Plaza Hotel, where they were married in the ’80s) and New Jersey, their primary residence.
In her conversation with the Times, Lisa noted that “I always wanted a de Kooning…. But of course, it took time to find the right size. And I really wanted it to be figurative, of a woman.” She eventually found Woman in Landscape V (1968), an oil on paper. But de Kooning was booted from his pride of place above the sofa when she snagged a butterfly drawing by Grotjahn. “No offense to Bill de Kooning, but when I saw this Grotjahn piece, I thought, wow, this will tie it all in,” she said.
Inspired by their new pasttime, Cohen’s Hudson Publishing launched the art and design magazine Galerie in 2016. Lisa serves as the magazine’s editorial director. She also documents her globe-trotting and art-viewing on Instagram.
Cohen, whose father, Robert Cohen, founded Hudson Media, has been in the news in the past for throwing his daughter a $1 million bat mitzvah that featured a performance by one of the Jonas Brothers.
“It’s sad to see what my father created through his blood, sweat and tears going away, but I don’t see any other way,” Paul Pope, an heir to the Enquirer‘s founder, told the New York Post. “It may be time to kiss it goodbye.”
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