August 9, 2016


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A Zurich Art Powerhouse
Art Historian, Zurich

Maria Larsson, art historian born in Switzerland, is a Zurich based art catalyst, with strong roots in her home country Sweden. Working not only for Collection Oscar Reinhart “Am Römerholz” in Winterthur, she also supports art education at Kunsthaus Zurich and acts as an active member of Kunsthus Zurich patrons organisation, with a special eye on developing the next generation of young collectors. In addition, she is part of the Frieze Art fairs team (London & New York) as their Switzerland VIP consultant.
Apart from that she is an avid collector of young contemporary art herself and generously loans part of her pieces to an international school campus at Lake Constance. TAG talked with Maria about cool elegance, a bag of almonds and that her perfect days begins with spending time in a dusty archive and ends at a crazy art world party at night.

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The Painter’s Wife, 2013, from the series Spirit is a Bone © Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

My ideal working outfit looks like…
Effortless cool elegance with a feminine touch, cashmere by La Capra, silk tops by Erdem or Mourjjan, tight skirts or flowing trousers with short cropped jackets. I love to combine a beautiful dress by Alexander McQueen or Peter Pilotto with a leather jacket and boots. Another daytime favourite is a pair of simple dark Acne jeans with signature high-heels in full colour and a Balmain blazer.

Heels or flats… Which brand or style…
I always prefer heels, obviously the higher the later the evening, my favourite pairs are from Aquazzura and Dolce Gabbana. For comfortable long hours in art fair aisles or running the Museum corridors of the Collection Oskar Reinhart ‘Am Römerholz’ or Kunsthaus Zurich I choose heels by Swiss-Brazilian brand Lele Pyp.

My favourite art-related blog/app is…
I am totally addicted to Twitter, I can spend hours cross-reading on all the latest relevant artworld information, background stories, art historical research, news and gossip. I love the way we share and gather information today, but I am trying to keep a constant eye on in-depth research as well. NewYork Times Arts, Frieze, The New Yorker, Hyperallergic, Art Space, Art News, The Art Newspaper, Apollo Magazine. Planet Art App gives a good overview too. In print form I prefer Burlington Magazine, Parkett, Kunstforum, Texte zur Kunst, Monopol Magazin, Artlover, NZZ & FAZ & Zeit Feuilleton. My favourite day is spent in a dusty archive or library and ending at a crazy art world party in the night.

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The last thing I bought and loved was…
A mixed media wall collage by Belgian artist Joris Van de Moortel. It is the pure visualisation of his musical improvisations and performances in another medium. Fashion: A wonderfully cut Tom Ford jacket which will become a fall favourite with black leather pants. A super slim dress in light grey by Mary Katrantzou with silver applications. Valentino biker boots bought on mytheresa.com. And also: an inflatable solid rubber boat to head down the Swiss rivers on warm summer days.

Most ridiculous thing I ever bought…
A long vintage seal fur coat that looked tremendously cool in that December Oslo shop but made me feel like an alien on a polar hunting trip in any other city. It is still hanging in my attic.

My necessary extravagance is…
Time to waste on endlessly long reading sessions. Airplane tickets to crazy last-minute destinations just to see an important exhibition. Freedom to choose work projects that really interest and inspire me. Eating out whenever I want, choosing dishes I would never cook myself.

Three things/products I always need to have in my purse…
Red lipsticks by Clinique or YSL, they are an instant look changer and last forever. Baume éclat visage by Clarins. My Iphone and Ipad as I am constantly online and love to work in public places like Cafés with people around me while I am fully immersed in my own topics. A silk scarf against tricky weather changes. Rosepepper Black Chocolate by Läderach (Zurich) & a bag of almonds.

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Maria with Mikael Fagerlund’s Blue Cross One (5), 1995 in Göteborg Konstmuseum

My ultimate beauty secret after long working hours…
A great plate of ‘pasta pomodori cacioricotta’ and a 10 hours sleeping session.

My favourite merge of the art- and fashion world…
Historical portraits which by the sheer strategic decision of dress and accessories are extremely interesting testimonies of power display.
Juergen Teller. Man Ray. Prada. Alessandro Michele for Gucci (@lallo25). The social media impact on brands has made collaborations between artists and designers such an important part of the industry. It is fully natural now to merge the two fields. Personally I love the opening days of Frieze London and New York where the creative crowd invents its very personal runway.

My most admired art world influencer…
Anyone being able to set up a surprising and mind-blowing exhibition has my full admiration – be it a curator, artist, gallerist or collector. Groundbreakingly smart Art Historians like Svetlana Alpers, Erwin Panofsky and Rosalind Krauss, and art critics like Roberta Smith and Andrew Goldstein.

In the art world currently I find most exciting that…
Technology will completely change the way we consume art in the future… We are in the middle of the iconic turn (Gottfried Boehm), the image has surpassed the word… And there is so much out there to be seen and visited, it’s endless. Art is today a global language but hopefully it remains in a state of the Babel tower with a myriad of different spoken idioms.

Art makes me…
Think that it’s one thing that separates us from the beast.

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Maria in Göteborg Konstmuseum, Cajsa von Zeipel, Seconds in Ecstasy, 2010 and Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Double blind, 2009/2014 at her back. 

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally…
Intelligence, conceptual art, diversity, the absence of repetitive visual outcome, beauty, raw nature and big cities, travelling to new places, talking to as many and as diverse people as possible.

The most arty city is…
Venice during the Venice Biennial. The density of contemporary ideas framed by history in one single spot is overwhelmingly inspiring. I love to see art outside of the regular white cube spaces. London, New York, Berlin and Paris for their museums and galleries. I also totally adore smaller places like Arles during ‘Les Journées de la Photographie’ and the impact the Luma foundation has had on the city. Gothenburg, my summer hang-out which offers a small but interesting art scene. Amsterdam, Stockholm, Brussels and of course Basel & Zürich. I am looking forward to dive into the Seoul art world for the first time next year and also visiting the Lofoten International Art Festival.

The perfect art-world gentleman is…
Seldom politically correct. Has an open and hungry mind and likes to challenge preconceived ideas and is ready for U-turns when life demands it.

Artist(s) we should have on our watchlist is/are…
Those using ideas and techniques mostly unheard of 20 years ago. Don’t give me lame abstraction.
My interest has lately been captured by: Evan Roth, Jonas Lund, Raphael Hefti, Volkers de Jong, Studer/van den Berg, Hannah Perry, Sara Möller, Elsa Sahal, Julian Charrière, Flavio Favelli, Mathilde Ter Heijne, Andrea Francolino, Konrad Wyrebek.

 

Images by Oscar Mattsson

Twitter: @larsson_ya

Website: www.roemerholz.ch ; www.frieze.com