What does it take to be a serious art collector? What drives someone to go after a particular work regardless of the cost? What form of addiction or compulsion causes an individual to devote vast amounts of time, money and emotional energy in pursuit of something that is unobtainable to most people? Tiqui Atencio has been collecting since she was eighteen years old. Decades later, she is one of the most prominent collectors of contemporary art, on the boards of international museums and art-world power lists. For Could Have, Would Have, Should Have, she has interviewed almost one hundred of the world’s most influential collectors – from financiers to artists – and asked them to tell their own story of how they started to collect and what continues to motivate them.
In chapters such as ‘Ways of collecting’, ‘Dealing with dealers’, ‘Living with art’, ‘But it doesn’t fit!’ and ‘What was I thinking?’, they reveal their highs and lows, the successes and regrets, the shared passions and intense rivalries, the works that got away … and the ones that perhaps should have done. Their anecdotes and recollections reveal the many practical and emotional aspects of collecting art, all the unexpected pleasures and challenges. What emerges is a frank and honest, surprising and eye-opening, and at times hilarious account of a lifelong dedication that is described by some as a heroic commitment and by others as a crazy sickness. Cartoons by celebrated artist and satirist Pablo Helguera complement the entertaining text and provide an alternative view onto the world of collectors and collecting.