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Francisco Costa: My First Big Art Purchase

The Calvin Klein designer discusses his appreciation for the work of Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca

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“I remember the first time I saw Guillermo Kuitca’s collage work—I was immediately curious to learn more. It felt very minimal and textural, with a lot of soul. I was able to meet him through Angela Westwater, his dealer at Sperone Westwater gallery, and got to know him through time spent together at some of her openings and parties. Kuitca and I both come from South America—he from Argentina, I from Brazil—so there was a connection right away.

It was a truly exciting moment for me to acquire the piece “Metropolitan Opera,” 2004, in the spring of 2007. I saw five pieces at once from this series where Kuitca maps out a seating plan [of NYC’s Metropolitan Opera House] and then he distorts it so that everything becomes fragmented. Subtle areas of paint lend a tremendous depth. And it’s unique. The piece has a prominent place in the living room of my Manhattan apartment. It floats within a thin black frame and hangs opposite two sofas, sharing wall space with a Bruce Nauman lithograph [“Untitled (Gray),” 1971], a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph and a series of drawings by Jeff Koons.

I bought another piece of Kuitca’s, a print of a red and black theater [“Alice Tully Hall,” 2009], three years ago. Both of his works are special to me. His interpretation of those theaters is very telling of who Guillermo is, and I like the fact that his subject matter keeps repeating in different forms. To me, that’s the sign of a very good artist.” As told to Natasha Wolff