Isaac Mizrahi, on Collecting Art in Search of the Me Factor
January 16, 2017
A brisk tour of the art in Isaac Mizrahi’s Greenwich Village apartment is intimate — like an introduction to this fashion designer’s 20 closest friends. Lining his walls are works by Jane Freilicher, Maureen Gallace, Alex Katz, Lisa Sanditz, Adrianne Lobel and Tomory Dodge — even Julia Sherman, his cousin’s grandmother, whose bold color choices and geometric patterns “drove me crazy,” said Mr. Mizrahi, the star of QVC’s home-shopping network, and “influenced me a lot.”
As a collector, one of Mr. Mizrahi’s biggest enemies is space: How could he ever just choose one wall to discuss? “Is it a wall?” he asked, staring at me with panic. “O.K., it’s a wall.”
We settled on one behind him in his cozy den, handsomely dominated by a majestic abstract painting by Mr. Dodge, a California artist. “It should be in someone’s loft, right?” he said. “I’ve made it into this almost decorative painting. It’s so not decorative. I have no idea what it’s called. It was my favorite one at the show, and I had to, like, fight to get it because he’s such a star, and I got it.” (The oil, according to the dealer, is “Horrid Torrid Times” from 2011.)
It makes up for the Jean-Michel Basquiat that got away. “Who had $2,000 when they were 20?” he asked, still agonizing. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.