Thursday, August 11 2022

Canadian collectors and philanthropists Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex are selling a selection of famous photographs, prints and works on paper on Artnet Auctions.

Both Bachir and Yerex have had careers at the forefront of the arts and entertainment industry: Yerex as an entertainer and scenic painter in film and television, including the hit series Degreased, and Bashir as the founder of Cineplex MagazineCanada’s most widely read magazine, and as President of Famous Players Media and Cineplex Media, where he manages all theatrical advertising at Canada’s largest movie theater chains.

This important Canadian collection is heavily influenced by the work of collectors in entertainment and philanthropy, offering iconic images of acclaimed personalities and works by Canadian and LGBTQ2S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit) artists. ). A portion of the proceeds from this sale will benefit 519 Centre, Toronto, a civic agency committed to the health, happiness and full participation of LGBTQ2S communities.

Anabel Wold, photography specialist at Artnet Auctions, spoke with Salah Bachir about the sale and his philanthropic efforts.

Read on to learn more about this stellar private collection and bid until June 29.

Greg Gorman, Selected works (Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Jackson, Sharon Stone and Keanu Reeves)circa 1990. Live now in An Important Canadian Collection on Artnet Auctions.

How has your experience in the film industry inspired your collection?

This affected the collection in many ways, due to the people I was able to meet and interview or become friends with. We have a lot of pieces by Greg Gorman, who we are close friends with. In Gorman’s work you can see a strong connection between photography and the film industry. Photographs can bring you closer to stardom.

We have always exhibited our collection in our offices. Many paintings, prints and photographs hang from floor to ceiling, salon style or, as some call it, “Salah style. We like to share the collection and have had several exhibitions in galleries and museums. Our clients and friends often want to meet in the office for a guided tour, and all our colleagues can choose the artwork they would like in their workspace. It creates a great working environment.

Can you tell us more about the 519? What is its mission and what does this organization represent for you?

Founded in 1975 and opened in 1976, 519 is the place to go if you go out [as LGBTQ2S], and who need documentation, support and guidance. 519 also supports refugees from other countries and those in transition. It has been a world renowned community center and is an integral part of the community in Canada.

We got involved with 519 and led the fundraising campaign to raise money to renovate the center. We donated money and have a wing named after us. We have also worked on many galas for 519 with friends from the show business. The first gala was headlined by an old friend, Eartha Kitt, and others were headlined by kd Lang, Andrea Martin, Diahann Carroll, Alan Cumming, Ben Vereen and Patti LuPone.

How does activism and philanthropy align with your collecting practice?

Activism and philanthropy are part of who we are and are reflected in the collection in many ways. We are patrons of artists, and we support their work and their activism. We want images of protest and diversity reflecting human struggle and survival on our walls to spark conversation.

Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys: a print1980. Live now in An Important Canadian Collection on Artnet Auctions.

What types of work do you turn to? Why photography in particular?

We have long-standing relationships with quite a few artists. It’s a process of understanding what the artist is trying to achieve. When you fall in love, you fall in love and want to collect deep rather than just one.

The photograph represents a moment in time. A captured image. Amplified. Whether it’s the civil rights movement, AIDS protests, celebrations of sexuality and battles won, or political, sporting or film icons. I think the works of art on our walls “talk” to each other. It is about human struggle, survival and triumph. It is a party.

We took Sam Wagstaff [the late curator and partner of Robert Mapplethorpe] lunch a few times to discuss photography, but I never really understood. Why couldn’t anyone take a picture? A painter or a sculptor took months to paint a picture. I read Susan Sontag’s book On the photo and wanted to know more. It took us time to collect the photograph and see the image as a unique moment frozen in time. We have not lost sight of the photographs alongside those of Warhol to see how they interact together and the importance of the photographic portrait.

What advice would you give to a beginner collector?

Buy what you like. You will live with it and put it on your walls. Understand what the artist is trying to achieve, and the story. Your tastes will change over time. Study, read and follow all you can. It’s not like buying stocks, it’s a much more enjoyable experience and process.

Ritts Grass, Elizabeth Taylor, Bel Air, 1997. Live now in An Important Canadian Collection on Artnet Auctions.

What are your favorite works offered in this sale? Why?

The Herb Ritts image of Elizabeth Taylor is such a powerful image of an icon and her brain tumor surgery scar. Ritts and Taylor had a special friendship, both strongly dedicated to ending HIV and AIDS in the late 1980s and 1990s. by Keith Haring Art Attack on AIDSwhich was included in Artnet’s Embrace: Celebrating Pride auction, is also important to us as we have been heavily involved in fundraising for AIDS awareness, advocacy and research.

What work would you have liked to buy when you had the opportunity?

Nothing and everything. We are very lucky to have more coins than we ever imagined we would have. We miss many of the artists we lost during the AIDS epidemic.

You have become well known for your extensive collection of Warhols, which you have generously loaned and donated to institutions over the years. How did it happen?

Keith Haring first introduced me to him and his work. The more I got to know Andy and his work, the more I admired him. For me, having come out in the 80s in New York and Toronto, and later during the AIDS epidemic, Andy was everything. He was the most famous artist in the world and he was gay. Everyone wanted a piece of Andy, from presidents and royals to village trans kids, and he gave them all access.

Andy revolutionized the art world for me and democratized it and made it accessible. When I started to see Andy as the revolutionary, activist and gay icon who paved the way, my admiration grew, and we had to have more in our collection. Andy made gay sex films and graphic designs that inspired us before I knew anyone else putting homoeroticism front and center. He had fun with all of us and made fun of the tabloid press saying he was asexual or a virgin with his lovers nearby. And they reprinted it word for word.

It was Andy who said “if you want to know everything about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and my films and I’m there. There is nothing behind. »

The last thing that impresses me about Andy is his generosity. His generosity towards all his friends and the promotion of other artists and filmmakers and those around him. I would see this first hand. But maybe to get to know Andy better, you should look at the Andy Warhol Foundation. It has awarded over $250 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations and over 52,786 works from over 322 institutions worldwide.

Ruth Orkin, American Girl in Italy, Florence, 1952. Now living in An Important Canadian Collection on Artnet Auctions.

One of my favorite famous pictures in your collection is by Ruth Orkin American girl in Italy, Florence, 1952. Orkin grew up in Hollywood and was heavily influenced by his shots. Apart from the obvious link with cinema, what particularly attracted you to this image?

We immediately loved the American girl in Italy. Florence is one of our favorite cities and just seeing her strolling around so carefree and the men gazing at her evokes time and space. We had read all the stories to find out if it was staged, but we prefer to follow Ninalee Craig’s description that they did the shot several times almost like a movie scene: “They were having fun and so was I. ” It was a carefree ride.

Ninalee has lived in Canada since 1978 and then moved to Toronto in 1996. We met her a few times at the opera. We had lent the piece for a few exhibitions in Toronto and one of her friends, children and grandchildren went to see her and told her about it. She was very proud of it and once joked that maybe it should be renamed Canadian in Italy.

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