Take Your Child to Work Day Is Every Day for This Collector | Modern Society of USA

Take Your Child to Work Day Is Every Day for This Collector

Take Your Child to Work Day Is Every Day for This Collector

MIAMI BEACH — For Sarah Harrelson, running an arts magazine, raising three teenagers and collecting contemporary art are intimately entwined pursuits.

“I had my kids in artist studios when they were 6 years old, which I think has been really defining for them and great for me as a working mother because I’ve been able to pull them into my world,” said Ms. Harrelson, sitting in the family home on Surprise Lake in Miami Beach. Austin Harrelson, her husband and a designer, landscaped the pool area outside and appointed the interior with furnishings by classic modernists including Karl Springer and Samuel Marx, while the family as an ensemble has had a say in the mix of art — often by women, some of them very young — in their home.

“We’ve all gone to Art Basel in Switzerland together for the last eight years,” Ms. Harrelson said.

It was the Art Basel closer to home — the sister fair two miles away in Miami Beach — that first immersed Ms. Harrelson in visual art when she became editor in chief of Art Basel magazine, the official publication of the fair, 12 years ago. “That was really when I started to become captivated with the contemporary art world,” said Ms. Harrelson, who earlier in her journalism career had focused on fashion, style, entertainment and design.

Ten years ago, at the art fair in Switzerland, the couple bought their first piece together, a painting by Spencer Sweeney of a figure who appears to have removed his own face and is holding it in contemplation. Today, they own close to 200 works by artists including Lucy Dodd (who paints with natural elements like yew berries and avocado skins), Tschabalala Self (who depicts exaggerated black female bodies) and Ella Kruglyanskaya (who makes stylized, cartoonish representations of women).

Are you consciously buying women artists?

We don’t have a particular intention. But it seems in the last couple of years, we’ve been buying more women artists. I’m always attracted to those kinds of stories.

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