Although he is relatively young, he said, “I want to be proactive. People don’t just die of very old age. So the idea that I’m not here for a moment and left a big question for my heirs about what to do with it is unfair to them, unfair to the artists, unfair to the works.
He added: “It’s really been a long-held belief that these works of art deserve to be out there, accessible to the widest possible audience, and doing their job of interacting with people and creating emotions and inspire art lovers,” he mentioned.
The relationship with MCA owes both to his respect for Grynsztejn, Daskalopoulos said, and his fond memories of living here while earning an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1980 and 1981.
“It was the first time that I lived longer outside of Greece,” he said. “I had just gotten married at the time, I had my first child in Chicago. And so I have my favorite basketball team, my favorite pizza, my favorite ribs place. . . .And then, there is Madeleine Grynsztejn, who has become a friend, who has had me on her board (since 2016) I admire the work she does and the way she manages the museum.
Each of the donated sets of works represents a sample of the D. Daskalopoulos collection, he said. And he noted that pieces tend to be larger in scale and “visceral.”
The full list of donated works has yet to be announced, but the sample of what goes to the MCA-Guggenheim couple includes materials such as human hair, animal skins, wine and clove, cumin and turmeric.
Daskalopoulos admits it’s “not a nice collection”, but it is a collection very much concerned with the human body “as the place of existence and where everything we do or feel comes from”.
Both institutions worked with the collector to select pieces that filled in the gaps and increased the strengths of their existing collections, Grynsztejn said. In the case of the MCA, the works have “an extremely strong focus on the art history of the 1980s and 1990s,” she said. “This precise period is the fundamental period for the emerging new generation of art historians, curators and artists.”
Although traditional museum management would see institutions loath to share the bragging rights of a major collector’s art, Grynsztejn says she sees art sharing as an opportunity and perhaps a new model more sensible for the discipline in the future.
“And that puts two museums on equal footing,” she said, noting that any line of credit will note joint Guggenheim-MCA Chicago ownership. “It’s very flattering, and I think that’s important. So it’s a different kind of bragging.
Bigger picture, she said, “by centering collaboration between two great institutions, it will facilitate the creation of ideas and knowledge.”
Practical considerations have yet to be worked out such as where the work will be stored and how museums will handle, for example, the desire to show the Hammons stone, the steel train track and the human hair sculpture. titled John Henry at the same time.
“I have a very long relationship of trust with the director (of the Guggenheim), Richard Armstrong,” Grynsztejn said. “I hope this unprecedented establishment of a shared museum partnership model will become a standard for many philanthropic considerations in the future.
“You basically get double the purse, double the number of curator eyes on a large collection. . . double the viewership in different geographic regions,” said Grynsztejn.