"Collecting art is about art of compromise
George Michael and his partner merge pop, class
DALLAS — The foyer of the Highland Park home Kenny Goss shares with pop star George Michael once held a skull wearing a clown's nose.
The sculpture, by Britain's celebrated artist brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman, didn't stay long. Goss relocated it before Michael returned home from England.
The skulls have been an issue.
"I love them for some reason. I think I have an addiction to skull art," admits Goss, standing in the home's sun-drenched gallery. "I try to keep myself away from them, though, because George doesn't like the stuff. The last time I came home with one, he just looked at me and said, 'Another damn skull?' "
Sometimes collecting art is about the art of compromise.
And sometimes, it's about change. This summer, Goss closed his two-year-old high-profile gallery in Dallas' Uptown — and promptly reopened it as the Goss-Michael Foundation, a public display place for the best of Goss' own collection and the work of established and emerging British artists.
"I felt like the commercial gallery was limiting what we were able to share with the community," Goss says. "The foundation gives us a chance to showcase more artists and give back in a way that we just couldn't before."
Another lesson in the art of give-and-take came with the couple's recently renovated home in Dallas-area Highland Park — a more modest version of the Georgian manor they own in London's Highgate.
After selling their original Dallas apartment at Turtle Creek's Vendome late last year, Goss wanted to merge his minimalist inclinations with Michael's desire for a "warm and homey" atmosphere — something that typically doesn't mesh with shock-and-awe contemporary art.
The first sign that this isn't just another Highland Park manse stands in the front yard: a life-size cast-iron figure by Antony Gormley.
Britannia also waives the rules inside, with works by young British artists, "YBAs," such as Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin, who jokes that they should be considered MABAs, "we're all middle-aged British artists now."
A 1981 Op-Art painting by Bridget Riley, now in her 70s and considered the grand dame of British contemporary art, hangs in honor above the living room fireplace. It was the first piece of significant art Goss purchased, and, unwittingly, one of his best investments to date.
"I grew up in a family that couldn't necessarily afford art," recalls Goss of his Coleman, Texas, childhood. "We didn't have a lot of paintings on the walls, or even family photos for that matter, but I've always been curious about the world and a sponge for learning."
That attitude sustained him through studies at the University of North Texas, a successful sales career with a cheerleading supply company, and then, of course, as one-half of a relationship that thrust him onto the international celebrity circuit. And, occasionally, the tabloids. Goss prefers to talk about the art.
Goss says focus is the key. "You would have to have more money than God to collect art without a focus. I started out trying to buy all over the place, but a year later I realized that my passion was really for British contemporary artists.""
The Dallas Morning News
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.11.2007