OLYMPIA GAYOT & MATT BLACK
OLYMPIA GAYOT & MATT BLACK
She’s J.Crew’s Woman’s Creative Director credited with the brand’s comeback, and originally a portrait painter who studied at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He’s a curator, most recently of Platform alum Elizabeth Schwaiger’s new solo show in Seoul. They fell in love in large part because of art—so it’s no surprise that in conversation with Platform, they wanted to talk collecting and share their September picks. (With a bonus new batch of Olympia’s beloved outfit selfies.)
What have you been up to lately?
We just got back from Canada, visiting family for a few weeks at their cottage on a little island with no cars. Since then, we’ve been full speed ahead with fashion week, art fairs, and back to school for the little ones. We both love New York in September.
What do you collect, art or otherwise?
Art, furniture, books, and objects. We challenge each other’s interests, but collect together; we have a dialogue and end up in a place that makes for a pretty personal collection. What we are each drawn to and inspired by is quite parallel. A lot of the art we collect goes back to our relationships with the artists, many of whom Matt has been either showing in exhibitions or placing in collections over the years. We both love the classics, but in the end, our personal relationships with contemporary artists are what excite us. Most of what we collect is also an excuse to investigate, learn and explore an artist, a period, a craft…
How would you describe each other’s taste and approach to collecting?
Olympia definitely brings a more feminine eye in her approach and love for portraiture, with influence from sketching collections in her work and her background as an artist and experience at art school.
Matt is more connected to the life of the artists, having conducted many interviews for his films and books. He also has an approach of mixing blue-chip and emerging artists. Influences of post skate and graffiti culture are big underlying motors of experimentation.
Matt, as a curator, any advice on how to approach building a collection and discovering new artists?
The question I always ask new collectors is why they want to start this journey, as well as what they want from it. Based on that answer (which needs to have multiple layers), I help them find art that satisfies those desires. For the discovery aspect, it’s all about personal curiosity and that’s a big part of the joy of collecting.
What have you curated lately?
I just curated an exhibition of Elizabeth Schwaiger, a New York-based artist, at Gana Art gallery in Seoul. It’s titled “Pressing Shadows,” and features a new series of absolutely beautiful and meaningful paintings. It will be followed by an exhibition of Soumya Netrabile in October.
Olympia, people are obsessed with your personal style and outfit selfies. Any recent ones to showcase how you’re dressing for fall?
If you could collect any one artist, who would it be?
As we live together, we continue to have a long discussion to pick two amazing paintings—probably one Matisse and one Georgia O’Keeffe. (We won’t say who favors which.)
What do you splurge on?
In New York? Coffee!