Frank Cohen Collection: A Selection, 3 Grafton Street
The only thing missing from the British art boom, which has fostered a bacterial-like growth in the number of artists and galleries, is British money. European and American collectors back most of the shows. Charles Saatchi is the best known exception; another, whose profile will be raised when he opens a gallery in Manchester next year to house his collection, is Frank Cohen.
As part of Art Fortnight London, an eclectic series of events and exhibitions organised by a collective of galleries and auction houses, about 35 works selected from the 1,000 that Cohen owns are being shown in a magnificently gaudy Mayfair house.
The artists on show make up a roll call of über-trendy international names. There are a painting and sculpture by the inexplicably successful Takashi Murakami, two canvases by Richard Prince, an American best-known for his unfunny jokes stencilled on huge, monochromatic surfaces, some tastelessly amusing works by the Chapman brothers, including a portrait of Hitler as a clown, pieces by Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans — who have been largely responsible for setting the tone of contemporary painting — and two comically distorted sculptures by New Yorker Rachel Feinstein, whose DIY aesthetic sits in pleasant contrast to its opulent surroundings.
This selection suggests that Cohen’s gallery will be a significant contribution to our art scene. But it also has the effect of highlighting Saatchi’s bravery when the inevitable comparison is made. Though Saatchi’s purchasing choices are occasionally dubious, he is willing to buy the work of unknown artists, informed only by his own taste, and has, as a consequence, formed the taste of others, something that Cohen’s collection, on this showing, is unlikely to do.
Until 22 July. Information: 020 7839 8139.