ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO, Anderson Cooper “got really serious” about collecting art. In an interview with Town & Country, the CNN anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent discusses how he and his partner Benjamin Maisani are assembling a collection that represents their disparate tastes and shared interests. Of the two, Maisani is the veteran collector and prefers Old Master prints. Cooper has an affinity for contemporary art, including works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Toyin Ojih Odutola.

“When I met Benjamin nine years ago, I wasn’t collecting anything other than—oddly enough—African hand-painted signs. Then I started becoming more interested in contemporary art, and following Benjamin’s interest in Old Masters,” Cooper told the magazine.

“I wasn’t collecting anything other than—oddly enough—African hand-painted signs. Then I started becoming more interested in contemporary art.” — Anderson Cooper, Town & Country

Growing up, the journalist’s home was full of art and he frequented museums with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt, a painter. Exposed to art throughout his life, the urge to collect only recently took hold.

A couple of years ago, he started working with an art advisor. He favors some of the most critically recognized artists working today and one of the most expensive among African American artists—Mark Bradford. Cooper says he has visited the artist’s Los Angeles studio a number of times. Bradford is currently representing the United States with a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale, and has a forthcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum.

Asked how he sees his collection developing, Anderson says:

    “I definitely continue to be interested in contemporary artists and would like to expand on that. In addition to Mark and Adrian [Ghenie], I really love Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Toyin Ojih Odutola. I view this as a long-term, life-long thing, and am having great fun learning along the way. To me, the whole art market is interesting. The whole art world—the way it works, the way it sometimes doesn’t work in the best interest of these remarkable artists. It’s also really nice to have something to obsess about other than my work.”

Based in Los Angeles, Nigerian-born Crosby was named a 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. She has solo exhibitions at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Odutola is presenting her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. “To Wander Determined,” her first museum exhibition in New York, is on view at the institution founded by Cooper’s aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. CT


READ ARTICLE in Town & Country Magazine


TOP IMAGE: Anderson Cooper (Sept. 12, 2012) | Photo by Taylor Hill, Getty Images


“Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day” accompanies the artist’s solo exhibition for the U.S. Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennial. The show will be on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art in September 2018. “Njideka Akunyili Crosby: I Refuse to be Invisible” is the first publication to document the emerging artist’s practice.


Below are representative images of works by the artists


TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA (b. 1985), “Wall of Ambassadors,” 2017 (charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper). | © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York


READ MORE about Toyin Ojih Odutola’s exhibition at the Whitney Museum on Culture Type


NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY, “Home: As You See Me,” 2017 | © Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London. Photography Brian Forrest


Installation view “Tomorrow is Another Day,” U.S. Pavilion at 2017 Venice Biennial. From left, MARK BRADFORD, “Leucosia,” 2016 (mixed media on canvas); “Medusa,” 2016 (acrylic, paint, paper, rope, caulk), and “Raidne,” 2017 (mixed media on canvas).


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