TABLE OF CONTENTS

Jeffrey Kastner

Interior of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s suite at the Plaza Hotel, New York, ca. 1937. Photo: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

ON A RECENT DAY IN EARLY MAY, two e-mails showed up in my in-box within a few hours of each other. The information they individually contained was unremarkable—the opening of an exhibition and the gift of artworks to a museum. Taken together, however, they provide a glimpse into one intriguingly unsettled facet of today’s contemporary art world: the complex landscape shared, sometimes uneasily, by private art collectors and public art institutions.

The first e-mail concerned an opening at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, an apple barn–turned–personal museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. A few weeks earlier, I had met there with its patron, Peter Brant, as he prepared to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the center by having Urs Fischer punch a massive hole in its gorgeous polished-concrete floor. Fischer is the solo subject of the second show to be mounted by the center,

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