As a key lender and advisor to Basquiat and Haring exhibitions in different parts of the world since the 1990s, Lio Malca is also the owner of Casa Malca, a private luxury hotel in Tulum, which features artworks from his private collection consisting of: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marco Brambilla, George Condo, Keith Haring and so forth.
Last year, he turned an 8,000 sq ft old salt warehouse along the sea in Ibiza into a dynamic exhibition space – he had been going to Ibiza for several years and loved the island and his experiences – he felt it was time to give back to the island and to the community and share his passion for art. He tells us that “it is a moral obligation and responsibility to ensure the artworks are viewed and appreciated as much as possible, by as many people as possible.”
What made you want to start collecting art?
When I started to buy and sell prints, I realized how important art was becoming. It happened unintentionally, and became a part of me and a part of my life.
What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
To be able to select emerging artists, who will earn recognition from curators, museums and scholars, and become part of art history.
Is there any particular type of art that has consistently attracted you? Or anything that unites all the works you have acquired?
The energy, the intention and the symbolism that come along with every artwork that I want to have. Now I’m paying particular attention to video art, 3D videos, video mapping and projections, which are interactive and influenced by sound, movement, light, and even weather, in order to be constantly mutating and reinventing itself.
What was the first artwork you purchased? How many artworks do you own?
The first original work was a work on paper by Basquiat. I don’t keep track of how many pieces I own.
Where do you display your collection?
I like to lend pieces to museums. The priority for lending is to make sure that the pieces to be in the right venues, proper exhibitions, and especially, professionally handled. I love to live with art around me – my collection is spread across my home in New York, my hotel “Casa Malca” in Tulum, and my exhibition space “La Nave Salinas” in Ibiza.
Back in 1994, you already started to show part of your young collection. Why would you like to present your art collection publicly?
In my opinion, owning important pieces of art comes with the responsibility to share them publicly. Traditionally, art was kept by the elite and confined by social circles. Now there seems to be a change in the way we perceive art. In my opinion, it is a moral obligation and responsibility to ensure the artworks are viewed and appreciated as much as possible, by as many people as possible.
What considerations guide you to make a purchase?
It depends. It can be a fusion of intuition and taste, along with a research about the artist and an understanding of the progression of their career.
Is there any kind of artwork that can make you write a cheque without any consideration?
You mean buying on the spot… ? Yes many times…! It used to be done with a hand shakes and a commitment, today is contract and lawyers…but never checks. I’m happy to “over-pay” when I recognize quality – it’s the most important lesson that collecting art has taught me, and I’m constantly reminding myself to apply this lesson in everything I do.
What is your most treasured artwork?
It is the piece that I will come across next…It’s that one piece that I have not seen yet.
What is your biggest regret regarding collecting?
No regrets. I want to learn form the mistakes I made… They are an essential part of the achievements to come!
What is your advice to young and fresh collectors?
For me, collecting is based on intuition and emotions. Those are the tools I use when acquiring new pieces; as I mentioned before, those tools go hand in hand with having some knowledge of the artists’ careers and insights into their life.
The Art World
What was your happiest moment being involved in art?
The happiest moment was when I looked back and realized that the day I started to get involved in the art world happened without knowing it at the time.
Can you name several emerging artists who should be on our watchlist?
Holton Rower, Quayola, Joanie Lemercier, How and Nosm and I could go on and on…but I recommend for people to discover their own taste. Keep your eyes open for video and art that has movement.
What are you especially excited about in the second half of 2016 in regard to art?
The impulse of how art is starting to move into Ibiza…
From Mexico to Ibiza
You opened an art-filled boutique hotel in Tulum, Mexico. Would you think art has become a cool gimmick for some businesses?
Art, for me, is part of my life – it’s a passion, and it is involved with my everyday life. The hotel in Tulum naturally emerged from a passion, and the artwork at the hotel is part of my personal collection.
Last year you turned a former salt depository into a huge exhibition space in Ibzia. How did you come up with the idea? And what is your vision of this space?
Ibiza has given me so much for so many years. I have been looking for a way to say thanks and to give back to the island. I’ve created a dynamic exhibition space, La Nave Salinas, which is open to the locals and all the tourists from around the world with museum-quality shows and will continue to have cutting-edge programming throughout the years.
What would be your next art-related projects? Such as a private museum perhaps?Whatever it will be, it most be surrounded by art…