Maddox Gallery has established itself as an international force in contemporary arts. We asked Creative Director Jay Rutland for his insights into the market
Founded in 2015, Maddox Gallery has quickly established itself as an international powerhouse within the world of contemporary and modern art. With five locations in London, Gstaad and Los Angeles showcasing some of the most respected blue-chip, established and emerging artists, the galleries attract both seasoned and aspiring collectors looking to immerse themselves in the highly collectable world of contemporary and modern art.
The Maddox Galleries work hard to support their affiliated artists, each acclaimed in their own field, including the up-and-coming Connor Brothers, Bradley Theodore and Joseph Klibansky, alongside established names like RETNA and the photographer David Yarrow, and world-renowned figures such as Banksy, KAWS, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
As Creative Director of Maddox Gallery, Jay Rutland turned his passion for contemporary art into an international empire, placing a focus on both supporting emerging artists and championing street art, as well as presenting works by leading names.
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We asked Jay Rutland about his favourite artworks, his current wish-list, and top tips on creating a notable art collection, starting by asking about his first purchase.
“That was a print by Banksy, Flying Copper (Blue), way back in 2004” he explains. “My older sister’s husband Richard was a prolific collector of Banksy at the time and I would admire his ever-growing collection every time I visited their house. The next thing I knew I was buying one myself and the love affair with art had begun. And yes – I still own it.”
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While Banksy is still high on Jay Rutland’s wish list, other artists such as George Condo also feature high. “I am a big fan of Condo and have been wanting to add his work to my collection for a while” says Rutland, who recently bought Condo’s small print work Droopy Dog Abstraction. “I have the perfect space in my office at our chalet in Gstaad, so I am very much looking forward to it going up.
“I also just purchased a work called Twins by David Yarrow, showing a mother elephant with two baby elephants. My wife just recently gave birth to our second daughter, so it felt particularly relevant and my wife loves it.”
Planned for 2021 at Maddox Gallery are exhibitions by Jerkface, The Miaz Brothers, The Connor Brothers and Joseph Klibansky, all of which Jay Rutland hopes to add to his collection. “In regards to emerging artists, I’m not much of a planner so it will depend on which new artists I discover this year. As for the more established blue-chip artists, there are a number that I am looking to purchase over the next few months. I am particularly keen to add some Keith Haring and Andy Warhol original works to my collection – not only do I love both of their work, but I also think there is going to be a major move in their markets over the next few years.”
Rutland’s one regret from the past is missing the opportunity to buy a Banksy before the artist’s work started to reach stratospheric prices. “About eight years ago I had the opportunity to purchase a large Girl With Balloon work on canvas by Banksy. For reasons that I don’t even remember now I dithered, and the work was sold to someone else. I’ve always regretted it because not only has it gone on to become the most iconic and sought after work by the artist, but it has also increased in value tremendously from the price that I could have bought it for.”
“Buy what you love. It’s the old cliché but so very true. Whilst we always hope that the value of a piece of art will increase over time, the biggest investment is the joy you get from owning the work. For example, I still remember how I felt the first time I saw Stik’s work. I found the pure simplicity of it fascinating and not only do I still own the work that I purchased that day, but it also still brings me the same joy.”
Upcoming exhibitions at the Maddox Gallery suggest this combination of joy in the work, and the thrill of spotting a potential investment. From 1st-31st May in the Los Angeles gallery is Mikael B, an LA -based urban contemporary artist whose work focuses on transforming experience into abstract design. Mikael B’s artwork focuses on both depth and form, and is described as “echoing Picasso’s style with a street art twist and pop of colour.”
In the UK, The Miaz Brothers are on show later in the year. Challenging traditional notions of portraiture, the sibling duo Renato and Roberto Miaz present a radical new approach to the genre, using layers of aerosol paint to create large-format canvases that appear out of focus.
Also in the UK, scheduled for this Spring, South Africa-born Joseph Klibansky shows his menagerie of polished bronze animals and other surrealist sculptures. Also on show are his expressive pastel canvases depicting dreamlike landscapes in fictive place where utopia and dystopia co-exist.
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Later in the Year, in LA from 1st-30th June, American artist Justin Bower explores the notion of identity in a post-human society through his large-scale oil on canvas paintings. In a culture where technology is displacing religious belief systems, Bower’s futuristic paintings interrogate the human condition.
And in the UK, from 10th June to 1st July, New York-based graffiti artist Jerkface is on show. Widely recognised for his playful re-imaginings of pop culture iconography through repetition, geometric abstraction and a surrealist fusion of cartoon characters, Jerkface creates iconic artwork that evokes nostalgia with a contemporary twist.
Which of these might Jay Rutland recommend as an investment? While he owns some very expensive works of art, including an original of Andy Warhol’s Chanel from Ads, which takes pride of place in the bedroom of his London home, his advice is always to go for what you love: “If a piece of artwork touches you emotionally and you feel like you would regret not buying it, then you shouldn’t pass on it.
“During lockdown, many of my clients called me from home to say they were tired of looking at blank walls and asked for artwork options.
“I think in these strange times a lot people want something more brightly coloured to brighten their home and in this new era of social distancing, perhaps even an impressive background for a zoom call! It’s been very interesting to see how what happens in the world affects the way people desire and view art.”
Another aspect of Jay Rutland’s taste is for artworks incorporating text. “Since the beginning of time, language and art have collided and intersected” he says. “And from the modern era onward, artists have employed words and language to diverse effect. Favourites of mine are Harland Miller, The Connor Brothers, Ed Ruscha, Jean Michel-Basquiat, Mel Bochner and Christopher Wool.”
Rutland doesn’t describe himself as a big collector of sculpture, but has started to add pieces to his collection in recent years. “I have always admired the work of Ugo Rondinone and then more recently I have been purchasing some of Joseph Klibansky’s sculptures – the closest thing I have seen to Jeff Koons in terms of quality.”
As for tips for artists to invest in now, Rutland describes that as “An easy one! Warhol. Haring. KAWS.”
The flagship Maddox Gallery in the heart of Mayfair is located in a converted Victorian townhouse on London’s Maddox Street. Set across four floors, the 3,750 sq ft space features a glass atrium filling the gallery with natural light, illuminating the finer details of the artworks on display.
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It’s a space in which browsing is encouraged, with experts on hand to talk through the artists and artworks on display. Its reputation for exhibiting cutting-edge work from internationally acclaimed artists and gifted newcomers has earned it a unique status among global art destinations.
But of course in the past year, Maddox Gallery, like many other art institutions, has had to invest more time and energy into online virtual reality showings. Using the latest VR technology, visitors can move around virtual galleries and zoom in on artworks rendered in ultra-high-definition detail. Shows included As Above So Below with London based artist, Graceland; Reality Is A Lovely Place, But I Wouldn’t Want To Live In There with the Connor Brothers; Pop Up, an online exclusive Pop Art collection featuring a collection of works by the genre’s big hitters, including Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein; and Virtual Encounters with wildlife and landscape photographer David Yarrow.
Is this, then, the shape of the future for Maddox Gallery and indeed for the art world? Jay Rutland says: “Digital has always been a priority for us here at The Maddox Gallery, and the transition from physical to virtual exhibitions has been something that we’ve always believed will serve to benefit both galleries and the art market in the years to come.
“Having the ability to offer virtual exhibitions and gallery tours not only makes art accessible to a wider audience, but also allows for art enthusiasts and collectors from overseas to engage with the gallery from the comfort of their own home, which is truly invaluable”.