Interview with Haro Cumbusyan, by Maja Markovic

Why did you start collecting and how have you decided on the direction your collection has taken? Was it planned from the start or has it grown organically?

For my wife and I, art has always been a mutual interest. We started dating at the Guggenheim, and got engaged at the Whitney… With museums’ young patrons programs, we were visiting galleries, artist studios, and private collections in and around New York. We were also occasionally acquiring artworks from galleries we had connections with as well as at auctions and art fairs. Soon enough we noticed that this was becoming a bit too expensive to pursue as a casual hobby; so, we decided to treat it more seriously. As my day-job was data-backed strategy consulting, I couldn’t help but segment the contemporary art market, identify our potential strength and weaknesses as collectors, consider the opportunities and threats in emerging trends, and finally come up with a set of criteria that would guide us in our acquisitions. This approach may sound cold and calculated, but what we simply were trying to do was create a framework that would allow us to build a collection that we would feel passionate about and still be able to afford, that would force us to constantly learn, and hopefully give us a chance to participate in the relevant discussions (even if silently.) Our selection criteria were not content related, so we retained pretty much all the flexibility we would want in exploring different ideas. But they provided us a navigation tool to help us find our way in the overwhelming jungle of contemporary art…